The extremely fit Australian scientist, who hiked, biked and surfed at Sydney's Manly Beach, had been bolstered by four doses of vaccine. Having spent nearly four decades studying how white blood cells in the immune system protect us from infection, he felt pretty safe about removing his mask.He continues on with a number of other mythbusters: Covid is not a "one and done" virus; Vaccines don't stop transmissions; and Variant specific vaccines/boosters are no silver bullets. So regardless of what you may have heard, continue to stay mitigation vigilant - especially heading into our normal cold and flu season - and realize that Covid is still spreading far beyond the publicized daily counts because most people who get infected now test at home and are not represented in the published numbers of confirmed infections.
Like many scientists Goodnow assumed that any infection after vaccination would be mild; that reinfections would largely be asymptomatic; that COVID would behave like a cold after vaccination; and that variant-specific vaccines would deliver us from the pandemic.
But Goodnow now considers these assumptions wrong and has set about debunking myths that "many of us, myself included, have entertained more than we should have," he writes. He now joins a growing cadre of scientific experts sounding new alarms about COVID, the "so many others" he says, who "are working hard to stop endless waves of reinfection."
The first myth that Goodnow wants debunked is probably the most common, that COVID is just a cold. But colds don't behave the way COVID does in the body. Colds, for example, don't leave 2.3 per cent of athletes with inflamed hearts after infection, as tests found at 10 U.S. universities. Nor do colds worsen outcomes with each subsequent infection, as Goodnow and others worry may be the case with COVID.
"The risk of cardiovascular disease, for example, increased after one infection, but doubled in people who had two infections, and tripled in those who had been infected thrice."
Similar risks were found for heart disease, blood clotting problems, brain decline and diabetes. Nor did vaccines seem to help in preventing these problems, which most frequently occur up to six months after infection. "Every time you dip your bucket in that COVID well, you've got the same chance of a whole lot of bad things happening," explained Goodnow, who considers the veterans study "really important real-world data."
His takeaway: "COVID-19 is not just a cold, and having it before doesn't get it over with.'"