Ralph Northam reveals he’s battling ‘long Covid’, still hasn’t recovered his sense of taste and smell
Virginia Gov Ralph Northam (pictured) still hasn’t fully recovered his sense of taste and smell a year after contracting COVID-19. Northam encourages voters to get stabbed to avoid complications related to ‘long Covid’
Virginia Gov Ralph Northam revealed this week that more than a year after contracting the virus, he is still suffering from symptoms of ‘long Covid’.
The Democratic governor, whose term ends in January, told The Virginian-Pilot that his sense of smell and taste has yet to recover from his battle with Covid in September 2020.
Now Northam is urging Virginians to get vaccinated to keep them from suffering like he did.
“I’m 62, and I can handle this,” Northam told The Pilot.
“But why take the risk that when you’re 15 or 20 years old or whatever age you may have symptoms that could affect you for the rest of your life?
“Or, worst case scenario, you get COVID pneumonia and don’t recover and end up losing your life.”
The vaccines weren’t available when Northam contracted the virus, though he now hopes other Virginians will heed the warning and get the injections.
“I’ve had the virus and the vaccine – between those two I would take the vaccine every day,” he said during a… press conference in May.
Northam, who is a doctor herself, has been an advocate for Covid protection such as regular testing, social distancing and vaccination. Pictured: Gov Northam posts a photo of himself getting a COVID-19 test in Chesapeake, Virginia, to his Instagram page in June 2020
Gov Northam received the COVID-19 vaccine in March and is urging others in his state to get the shot. Pictured: Northam receives the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and promotes the safety and effectiveness of the shots on his Instagram page in March 2021
‘Long Covid’ is a common but mysterious condition in which survivors of the virus still feel some side effects months – or possibly years – later.
The condition has baffled many experts, and there are as yet no treatments or treatments that have been found to be effective against it.
Experts can’t even figure out why the condition occurs in the first place.
“The long haulers is just a situation where uncertainty is the main theme of everything that happens,” said Dr. Noah Greenspan, a New York City lung care expert, who opened the nation’s first freestanding treatment clinic for a long time Covid told DailyMail.com earlier this year.
Greenspan said he cannot make a good estimate of what percentage of Covid patients will develop long-term Covid symptoms, although it could be anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of survivors.
He also told DailyMail.com that many long-term Covid patients will be found full of health screenings, further confusing doctors.
Pictured: Gov Northam donates plasma to the Virginia Red Cross in December 2020. Northam previously contracted Covid in September 2020, meaning his blood at the time contained naturally forming antibodies to the virus
Pictured: Gov Northam visits a vaccine site in Norfolk, Virginia, promoting the state’s partnership with Walmart to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine
However, a potential breakthrough was achieved in August, when researchers from the University of Cambridge in England identified a biomarker that could help doctors predict who will experience the condition.
However, that is only the first step towards developing treatments for long-term Covid.
Northam is a neurologist himself — the only U.S. governor to be a physician — and has a few theories about what’s happening with the condition.
He believes it could be related to a broken connection between a person’s olfactory bulbs and the brain, and the condition could be alleviated once the cell regenerates, The Pilot reported.
Meanwhile, Northam navigates the world with two of his primary senses diminished, perhaps permanently.
Lemonade, once one of his favorite drinks, now tastes like gasoline to him, according to the Pilot.
He can no longer smell gasoline or smoke, or even the stench of his dogs.
Many of his favorite foods taste like “cardboard,” and the usually minty taste of toothpaste tastes like metal, he told The Pilot.
“It’s a very unpleasant taste,” he said.
As he struggles with prolonged Covid, he encourages his constituents to get the shot and take safety measures to protect themselves and communities from the virus.
Northam’s social media pages are littered with posts promoting regular testing, vaccination, social distancing and other measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
As of Tuesday, 70 percent of Virginians have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine and 62 percent are fully vaccinated.
Cases in the state are moving in the right direction, with 2,000 people testing positive for the virus every day, a 26 percent drop in the past two weeks.
Northam’s term as governor will soon come to an end as Virginia will not allow anyone to serve consecutive terms in the role.
Northam, who was elected in 2017 and took office in 2018, cannot run for governor again until 2025.