Finding by UK disease tracker Airfinity

Infectious diseases skyrocket worldwide fueled by COVID-19 pandemic

A new study has found that the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past four years coincides with a new surge in many other infectious diseases far beyond their pre-pandemic levels. The study was reported by Airfinity, a UK-based data and analytics company that specializes in monitoring and forecasting trends in global disease and public health.

The implication of this finding is that the systematic dismantling of public health measures by capitalist governments worldwide, allowing SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, unimpeded access to the world’s population, has created the conditions for even greater damage to human health.

Airfinity previously tracked the horrendous impact of lifting Zero-COVID in China at the end of 2022, which led to hundreds of millions of people being infected and more than a million deaths. Last week the company posted a new analysis on its webpage showing that “the world is seeing a resurgence of at least 13 infectious diseases, with cases higher than before the pandemic in many regions. Over 40 countries or territories have reported at least one infectious disease resurgence that’s 10-fold or more over their pre-pandemic baseline.”

Global map of recent outbreaks of 13 infectious diseases. [Photo: Airfinity]

As the figure above indicates in the upper left-hand corner, these include cholera, dengue, invasive group A streptococcal disease, which can cause “strep throat” but with severe and deadly ramifications, tuberculosis, polio and influenza. Other diseases on the rise that have significant consequences for children and immunocompromised people include measles, respiratory syncytial virus, chickenpox and pertussis. 

The surges in these diseases beyond their pre-pandemic levels, in some cases by many orders of magnitude, are deeply troubling. In this process, Long COVID seems to play a central role. It can affect nearly every organ system in the human body and acts as a mass disabling event, with more than 200 symptoms meticulously documented by the National Academy of Sciences

In the US alone, nearly one in five people has experienced Long COVID, amounting to 50 million people. The prevalence of the chronic disease stands at almost 7 percent, or around 17.6 million.

Phillip Alvelda, CEO & chairman of Brainworks Foundry and a former program manager in the Pentagon’s Biological Technologies Office, which was instrumental in the development of the mRNA vaccine technology, described the impact of Long COVID exposure on immune resistance to other diseases in a recent two-part interview published by the Institute of New Economic Thinking. He stated emphatically:

Even a mild or asymptomatic infection can harm the immune system. It can make you susceptible to new diseases that might not have bothered you before, but now, with your weakened immune system, these new diseases can find a foothold and attack you. Also, conditions that may have been dormant or held in check in your body by your immune system could resurface now that it’s weakened—things like shingles, HIV, or a resurgence of herpes. We’re seeing resurgences of all those things in the general population. We’re also seeing a resurgence in measles, whooping cough, and polio—all these things that we thought we’d gotten rid of.

The long-term impacts are considerable and most likely lifelong. Even two years out, risks of heart attack are double and risks of stroke triple, to say nothing of the myriad neurological and metabolic issues that contribute to the overall deterioration of health. This only raises the specter that repeat infections cause cumulative damage, further weakening the entire human organism. Presently, on average, every American has experienced three bouts of COVID-19, a figure now estimated to more than double by next year at the current pace.

Worse, how such infections have impacted children who are repeatedly exposed to COVID-19 and other respiratory pathogens in crowded and poorly ventilated schools remains a largely uninvestigated area. This is a direct consequence of the ruling class campaign to reopen “the economy,” i.e., capitalist profit-making, by reopening the schools so that parents of school-aged children could be forced to go to work.

Communities have been inundated by the perpetuation of the lie that children are impervious to COVID-19. The current figures showing widespread academic declines are being falsely attributed to lockdowns, which helped save lives in the initial throes of the pandemic, and not to the impact of the health consequences of the disease itself on children’s ability to learn.

The point on children was made obvious in a recent report from Australia titled, “Too many children with Long COVID are suffering in silence.” David Putrino of Putrino Labs, a rehabilitation innovation body for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York, who has been at the forefront on studying and treating the condition, said, “These kids’ world just gets very small, very quickly.”

He added:

We see kids missing school, being unable to participate in sports. We see social isolation. Long COVID is a lot more complicated and more brutal for young people. Adults tend to be better able to navigate the medical intricacies and politics of their illness. I don’t like comparative suffering as a concept, but I do know that kids are having a harder time with it because people seem to be less understanding of it.

All this also means that Long COVID kills, a point that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and federal public health officials have downplayed. As Alvelda noted, Long COVID is killing “immediately one and a half percent of the people that get it.”

However, discussions about COVID-19 and its consequences have largely disappeared from the corporate media. Public health dashboards have been taken down. Instead, anti-scientific policies that assure the public it is safe to return to work despite being infected with a contagious pathogen are being promulgated. This simply means that the policy of mass death has become “officially” normalized.

The only significant exception to the corporate silence was the major Bloomberg News report produced in collaboration with Airfinity, which documented the resurgence of the 13 communicable diseases. Some of the facts noted in this report are startling:

  • Influenza cases in the US have jumped 40 percent compared to pre-pandemic years.
  • Whooping cough, or pertussis cases, rose by 45 times in China in the first four months of 2024 compared to the year before.
  • In Australia, cases of respiratory syncytial virus, RSV, have nearly doubled from a year ago.
  • Argentina and Brazil are facing their worst ever outbreaks of dengue fever.
  • In Japan, there is an unexplained surge of Streptococcal A.
  • Measles is resurgent in Britain, parts of continental Europe and 20 states in the US.
  • On a world scale, there were 7.5 million people with new cases of tuberculosis in 2022, the worst total since the World Health Organization started global monitoring in the mid-1990s.
Table of infectious diseases, geographic regions affected. [Photo: Airfinity]

As the table suggests, there are numerous causes, which differ from region to region, but nearly all are related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and all are exacerbated by the global crisis of capitalism.

Even as the FDA debates the next strain the COVID-19 vaccines will target, principled experts in the field warn that this attempt to play catch up will do little to alleviate the public health concerns raised by “forever” Long COVID. The SARS-CoV-2’s ability to constantly adapt and change, making the latest vaccines passe, has the effect of engendering complacency even though it is the only treatment that can reduce the risk of Long COVID.

The only effective means to combat COVID-19 and these reemerging pathogens, whether common or rare, are basic tried and tested public health policies: testing, tracking and isolation; masking with N95 masks; cleaning indoor air. Healthcare systems and public health infrastructure need resources to function as they were intended. And with the threat posed by the highly pathogenic bird virus, there are immediate concerns for which the world is less prepared than ever before.

It is capitalism as a social disease that makes a mockery of science. The current surge of infections across the world is a symptom of this diseased social condition.