COVID-19: No hoax and not ‘just the flu’

Living on Kaua‘i, the impacts of the coronavirus have been more economical than medical.

It it easy to think that all the scary stuff about the health impacts of the disease are exaggerations, that the actual health impacts are minor. If you look at the facts, however, this is not true.

The health impacts of COVID-19 are sometimes death. For those who survive, the battle doesn’t always end with the symptoms. More problematic are the long-term disabilities that are becoming associated with the disease that leave not just the elderly, but some younger, healthy people, with debilitating side-effects for months.

Scientists are just beginning to understand the many health problems caused by COVID-19. According to doctors and infectious-disease experts, some of these may have lingering effects on patients and health systems for years to come.

While further scientific study is needed, evidence already seems clear that COVID-19 patients are more prone to blood clots, a dangerous condition that can lead to heart attacks, strokes and pulmonary embolisms.

There is evidence that overwrought immune systems triggered by the virus can permanently weaken heart muscles. People who have suffered symptoms for weeks, or even months, talk about how they can’t hold a thought or idea, a condition doctors have described as a persistent brain fog. “We see blood clotting, we see kidney damage, we see inflammation of the heart, we see stroke, we see encephalitis (swelling of the brain),” said William Li, MD, president of the Angiogenesis Foundation.

Fear over myocarditis, an infection that can cause acute heart failure and sudden death, reached elevated concern in college football’s decision to cancel its fall season, according to a recent article in Sports Illustrated.

Dr. Matthew Martinez, the medical director of sports cardiology at Atlantic Health System in New Jersey, stated, “Myocarditis is one of many after-effects of COVID-19, but for athletes, it is the most serious.” Left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriquez, projected as the Red Sox No. 1 pitcher this year, developed myocarditis after contracting COVID-19. He will miss the 2020 season.

But not only athletes are affected. Actress Alyssa Milano, months after contracting a mild case of COVID-19, recently reported she is now suffering from lingering effects including heart palpitations, shortness of breath, hair loss and occasional vertigo. Her next step is a chest CT scan, cardiac MRI and blood tests to verify any damage.

Coronavirus can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and delirium.

“My worry is that we have millions of people with COVID-19 now,” said Adrian Owen, neuroscientist at Western University in Canada, in an article for Reuters Health &Science in July. “And if in a year’s time we have 10 million recovered people, and these people have cognitive deficits, then that’s going to affect their ability to work and their ability to go about activities of daily living,” he said.

And it affects the lungs. “I don’t know how to say it without being gruesome. It just destroys the lungs,” said Dr. Jon Thogmartin, medical examiner, Pinellas and Pasco County, Florida, in Newsweek in June.

“I want to get the virus and just get it over with,” some people say. Are you sure? People typically recover from seasonal influenza within two weeks. COVID-19 can take months. With COVID-19, on average, you are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized than you are with the flu.

Even if you don’t care about yourself, think about your family and friends. Your grandchildren, your grandparents or elderly friends. Don’t wait until you hear about your good friend or relative dying while gasping for breath to say, as a 40-year-old Texan was heard to say on his deathbed: “I thought it was a hoax, but now I know I was wrong.”

Due to its geographic isolation, Kaua‘i is uniquely poised to contain the virus and keep COVID-19 from exploding on our island. How can we, the people of Kaua‘i, help? We can make decisions based on facts. We can lead by example. Let our friends see that we’re wearing a mask, washing our hands, keeping social distance and avoiding large groups.

“I ola ‘oe, i ola makou nei” means “My life depends on yours, your life depends on mine,” and is a Hawaiian proverb.


Kim Rowley is a member of the Kaua‘i COVID-19 Discussion Group.

  1. kahilirose August 28, 2020 3:03 am Reply

    Thank you. Too many people think mild infections and asymptomatic infections aren’t a serious problem. New data shows that serious damage occurs to the lungs and the vascular system regardless of severity. Given that 6 million people in the US are infected, we are facing a crisis.

  2. manawai August 28, 2020 7:11 am Reply

    “But not only athletes are affected. Actress Alyssa Milano, months after contracting a mild case of COVID-19, recently reported she is now suffering from lingering effects including heart palpitations, shortness of breath, hair loss and occasional vertigo.”
    “Coronavirus can lead to severe neurological complications, including inflammation, psychosis and DELIRIUM.”

    Ahhh…Delirium! That describes Actress Alyssa Milano to a T as well as the obvious adoration of her by the author.

    1. ikaikaina August 29, 2020 4:09 pm Reply

      Please enlighten us all how that post is supposed to contribute to a healthy discussion.

  3. John Patt August 28, 2020 7:37 am Reply

    Very good article. It is important to point out that survivors of COVID-19 can have long term health issues as a result of the disease.

  4. Steve Martin August 28, 2020 8:02 am Reply

    I find it amazing that no one in the world has experienced the COVID virus until now and we have people who write letters but truly don’t have a clue of what is really going on so like Kim Rowley is a member of the Kauai COVID-19 discussion group doing her duty to continue the fear mongering of assumptions and we all know what assuming leads to!

    1. One crazy guy August 29, 2020 4:10 pm Reply

      Which of the facts above are you afraid of?

  5. andy johnston August 28, 2020 8:40 am Reply

    Mahalo Kim- It is so refreshing and encouraging to see rational, fact-based articles such as this in TGI (or anywhere else for that matter). Excellent information about some of the horrible and frightening side effects of this virus which are still faced by many of the people who were fortunate to survive the infection in the first place. Not a day goes by that I don’t say to someone “How lucky are we to be on Kauai right now?” and the answer I usually get back is something like “We are so blessed!” or “Wouldn’t want to be ANYWHERE else!” It can seem at times that the pandemic is somewhere else and that can engender a false sense of security. Look no further than Oahu (don’t go there, just look). Please everybody, let’s not screw this up and waste the opportunity we still have to stay (mostly) safe until this is over!

  6. Kauaidoug August 28, 2020 8:44 am Reply

    The Coco Palms eyesore and debacle leaves me with little hope that the far more complicated issues of affordable housing will be settled in any forseeable future.

  7. poi dogg August 28, 2020 8:57 am Reply

    well spoken, i hope someone is listening,
    if covid-19 hits Kauai, where will you go for treatment? sneak on an airplane infect everyone onboard and go to…HNL. SFO, LAX, where there are more cases than the hospitals can handle, …go the the KCC parking lot and make yourself comfortable and await your fate

  8. Kalaheo Makai August 28, 2020 10:36 am Reply

    This article does not state on verifiable fact or evidence for lingering symptoms being widespread among those already infected.
    “Scientists are just beginning to understand the many health problems caused by COVID-19. According to doctors and infectious-disease experts, some of these may have lingering effects on patients and health systems for years to come.”

    If COVID is much more widespread than previously thought then the majority of people experience little or no symptoms. Please provide data and statistics not opinions when basing such claims.

    1. Aihue August 29, 2020 4:12 pm Reply

      This was an opinion piece, sarge. You think there are errors in it, you prove it.

  9. Jamie Rainbow August 28, 2020 7:06 pm Reply

    Mahalo Kim, Thanks for including references for the facts you quote in the article. I read an article on Hawaii now by Allison Blair (today 8-28) that Honolulu Hospitals are at 106% capacity, what are the plans if they run out of Nurses and beds?

  10. J.D. August 29, 2020 7:01 am Reply

    This fear mongering has to end.
    Every government report projection etc. has been wrong. On April 13th the University of Minnesota had projected by July 13th 1,000 people in Minnesota would be dying each day from covid-19. The Governor bought a large building for the bodies. It never happened. This is one of many ridiculous stories.
    Doctors all along have said treat it like the flu and the vast majority will be fine. In extreme examples it will be worse for people that have compromised immune systems. JUST LIKE THE FLU!!!
    Protect the vulnerable and let everyone else live.
    They say we may get hit by an astroid some day and all die. I will not spend my life hiding under the basement table.

    1. D.A. August 29, 2020 4:16 pm Reply

      Would you say the opposite of fear mongering is spreading misinformation?

      What about the action taken by the leaders in Hawaii do you think isn’t meant for the protection of those who need it?

      Which doctors are you quoting that have said this is just like the flu? (Really, please name them, I don’t ever want to trust my health to them.)

      Don’t hide under the table – if you think this is so safe, travel to a hot spot and help tend the sick.

  11. Paulo August 29, 2020 8:47 am Reply

    Thanks for straight talking sense, Kim Rowley.

  12. rk669 August 29, 2020 12:32 pm Reply

    If your Hair is on Fire,Stay locked up at Home!
    Fear is a great Tool, for bringing Citizens under Govt Control!
    The Simple Believe Anything!
    How often do these other Symptoms Occur! Show we the people the Stats from your experpt opinion! Like I said FEAR is a great TOOL for those with Nefarious Agendas!

    1. Irony August 29, 2020 4:16 pm Reply

      Lost on you, isn’t it?

  13. Pete Antonson August 29, 2020 2:21 pm Reply

    Here is a short and recent article from the Mayo Clinic that says pretty much the same thing as the letter by Kim Rowley. I offer it up to the trumpy trump Cult still awaiting the magical disappearance of the virus. Oh wait, now the Mayo clinic will be considered part of the Deep State revealed by Q-ANON that just wants to make baby trumpy trump look bad, Oh my!

  14. Leo K August 29, 2020 8:01 pm Reply

    There’s not been enough time to scientifically determine long term effects of the virus, it’s only been a few months. As well there is not enough time from now or even a year from now to prove efficacy of the safety for any vaccine even in the face of the race for the $Trillions in future sales under their private vaccine patents. Seems even Dave believed the incoming missile scare, so we can’t rely on him and his ilk.

    The enormous amount of alleged side effects are actually the if you look into disease, they are actually the, held secret, co-existing conditions and are these co-existing conditions are what are actually killing the people who have the covid19, well except for the ones who were falsely tested, and not a whole lot that could be done about that after they were dead. Yep these are the pathologies of the pre-existing diseases that the hospitalized and dead patient have.

    The many side effects listed in this article are the outcomes of routine chronic degenerative diseases, but are now being more correctly called End of Life diseases, and are always, under medical care, accompanied by the End of Life prescription drugs with additional proven lethal side effects that are honestly admitted to on every drug TV AD. Amazing how gullible people of ignorance are, though it’s not their fault not having had a medical education, although even those with a medical education are still gullible and believe and repeat the same threat against people’s lives. Drug and surgical treatment lies have no end, but truth is in short supply.

    1. Kitty August 30, 2020 11:25 am Reply

      “There hasn’t been enough time to know what all is going on, but I know what all is going on!”

  15. Ellen August 29, 2020 8:32 pm Reply

    Who amongst the virus believers will be ready to stand in line for the first doses of the vaccine, the lab produced disease that is going to be injected into you. Might there be vaccine impurities, kind of scary since the vaccines are being made rush order, There will be several competitive brands, like Pfizer, Glaxo Kine, Monsanto-Bayer, will they each have their own side effects to be treated later with more prescription drugs?

    I mean they couldn’t have any side effects like the virus has, or medical prescription drugs have, could they? Is there a book or reference we can read to become believers as well as trust pharmaceutical companies Vaccines to be sold to billions of people worldwide, that’s a lot of profit for mere petrochemicals made into drugs and vaccines.

    The question is: can we trust our immune systems to squash this pandemic? Humans are vertebrates, and all vertebrates have immune systems, immune systems have been successfully ridding all the vertebrates species of bad virus and bad bacteria for a proven track record of 550 million years. That’s a lot of experience. Since we are the most evolved vertebrates, we the human species, have we no faith in the grand design of our Creator, or do you put your faith and trust in the flip floppimg CDC, and our local elected and appointed officials ?

    1. Degenerate August 30, 2020 11:28 am Reply

      If you believe your “Creator” has made you superior to all disease, please pray and then volunteer to help those suffering from this ailment.

    2. Pete Antonson August 30, 2020 9:23 pm Reply

      Hey, thanks for the 5th grade perspective of medical science that even trumpy trump could understand (if you read it out loud for him!).

  16. Larry August 30, 2020 5:28 pm Reply

    I remember hearing similar comments diminishing dangers during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, when I was working with treating physicians and public health people in San Francisco.
    Some gay activists said that there was no virus involved, that this was a right wing plot to defame and demonize gay people, that drug companies were creating panic for profit, that there was no need worry about sex or close the baths.

    All of those guys are dead now.

    Whether they are on the left or right politically, people have an amazing ability to deny things they don’t want to be true, especially if it affects their wallets, And there is a great reluctance to prudently change your behavior for a while until Science learns more.

    We will know a lot more about this virus and its longer term effects in a year. Even at this point It’s pretty obvious that you really don’t want to get this disease if you can avoid it, whatever your age or health history,

    I wouldn’t count on direct Divine Intervention as a preventive measure.

    That didn’t seem to work in the Middle Ages with The Black Death, and there was certainly a lot of praying going on.

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