Scott Alexander has published a post on long covid, which he rates as much more frequent and dangerous than I do. Scott and I spent a while hashing this out in private, and our cruxes seem to come down to:
- I think his studies are too small and sample-biased to be meaningful.
- He thinks my studies (especially Taquet) didn’t look at the right sequelae.
- I was only looking at cognition (including mood disorders), whereas he looked at everything.
Scott also didn’t do age-specific estimates, although that’s not a crux because I expect other post-infection syndromes to worsen with age as well.
I intended to include fatigue in my analysis of cognitive symptoms but in practice the studies I weighted most highly didn’t include them. Scott’s studies, which he admits are less rigorous although we differ on how much, did include them. Why the hell aren’t the large, EHR-based studies with control groups looking at fatigue?
Also, this isn’t relevant to the covid disagreement, but I baffled by the medical systems’ decision to declare chronic Lyme in particular as the definitely psychosomatic syndrome, given that Lyme is closely related to syphilis, which we know damn well has a long dormant period and a stunning array of possible long term consequences.
Although I didn’t update much on this particular disagreement, I have a lot of respect for Scott and encourage anyone making decisions based on bloggers’ estimates of the risk of long covid to check out his post as well.