Is the Virus that Causes COVID-19 Affecting our Minds and Making us Mean?

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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health mandates have created many social disruptions, including lockdowns, job losses, social isolation, mask mandates, social gathering restrictions, and even vaccine mandates, all challenging our lives, our health, our emotions, and our minds.

As a result of COVID-19, there is a widespread mental health and social stability crisis.

People are depressed, foggy-brained, anxious, sleepless, fearful, and desperate. Some people are getting aggressive towards others, with more violence and crime. Drug use is up. Spousal and child abuse are up. The culture is polarized in opinion to the point of physical confrontation. To control the message over COVID-19, censorship is high, creating disenfranchisement, alienation, and more anger.

Freedoms which were held sacred, like the right to choose whether one wishes to be vaccinated or not, are now challenged as selfish and harmful to the common good. People now see one another as threats to public safety and health.

We have gone from saying hello with a kiss or a handshake, to saying hello with a mask on and over the Internet.

It’s easy to see, and should have been expected, how the social disruption from the pandemic would lead to these mental health and social problems.

However, another possible contributor to this crisis could be the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the brain itself.

It is known that the SARS-CoV-2 virus does enter the brain, and antibodies to the virus have been found in cerebrospinal fluid. The NIH article, “Coronavirus and the Nervous System”, explains, “Changes in the immune system have been seen in studies of the cerebrospinal fluid, which bathes the brain, in people who have been infected by SARS-CoV-2. This includes the presence of antibodies—proteins made by the immune system to fight the virus—that may also react with the nervous system.”

The NIH article continues, “Researchers are following some known acute effects of the virus to determine their relationship to the post-acute complications of COVID-19 infection. These post-acute effects usually include fatigue in combination with a series of other symptoms. These may include trouble with concentration and memory, sleep disorders, fluctuating heart rate and alternating sense of feeling hot or cold, cough, shortness of breath, problems with sleep, inability to exercise to previous normal levels, feeling sick for a day or two after exercising (post-exertional malaise), and pain in muscle, joints, and chest. It is not yet known how the infection leads to these persistent symptoms and why in some individuals and not others.”

So what is currently known is that the virus does enter the brain, and both the virus and the antibodies to the virus may affect the brain. It may cause all sorts of symptoms, since the brain affects virtually all bodily functions.

However, note what is missing from the NIH list of symptoms. There is no mention of emotions and thoughts being impacted by the virus.

Usually, medicine studies physically measurable symptoms, for example, by looking for chemical markers of disease, or measuring nerve conductivity, or looking at levels of antibodies. We can see how well people sleep, and test their memory. But how do you measure changes in thoughts and moods? It’s not easy.

Realize that the seats of emotion and thought are in the brain. Any viral infection in the brain can impact the centers of the brain responsible for emotion and thought.

This means that in the brain, the virus, and/or antibodies to the virus, could be directly causing moods and thoughts, as parts of the brain associated with emotions and thinking are impacted.

Of course, if this is true, then it could partially explain the evidence we see of increased aggression, anger, and violence in society. However, since these are also the result of social disruption from pandemic management methods, as described above, it will be hard to separate these two contributions towards negative emotions and thoughts.

Scientists are seeing cognitive decline from the virus, including being “foggy-brained”, but what about a cognitive shift towards aggression from the virus? It is feasible that a virus could create a negative mindset by the way it affects our thinking. Likewise, a virus could theoretically cause a mood change towards negativity, intolerance, and hostility.

If the viral infection and the pandemic response can both lead to aggression and negative feelings and thoughts, then how could you tell which is more responsible? This is an important question, because it means that getting COVID-19 may itself be creating the mental and social dysfunction we are seeing develop, apart from public health measures.

This means that anyone who has had COVID-19, symptomatically or asymptomatically, might develop changes in mood and thoughts as a direct result of the viral infection, but possibly without other neurologic signs.

Aggression and hostility may be just as much a symptom of COVID-19 as heart disease or breathing difficulty.

Unfortunately, this will never be studied and confirmed, even if it is true.

Doing a study like this would require measurement of emotions and thoughts before and after COVID-19 infection, to see if there was a change. You would need to determine if there was previous asymptomatic infection, which could be done with antibody tests. However, these tests are not done routinely, at least in the US, and antibody levels drop with time, so conclusions are not reliable. You would also have to make sure these people did not also have to deal with the social disruptions caused by public health measures, which is virtually impossible since the entire planet has been affected.

There are also big political implications, if this is true. Any political leader who has been infected with COVID-19 may have an altered mood and mind. Could this be driving mandates that seem arbitrary and capricious, like requiring masks and COVID-19 tests for the unvaccinated but not for the vaccinated, even though the vaccinated can still get and spread the disease? We have seen politicians using pandemic emergency powers to spread mandates, lock people down, and force compliance with threats of jail. We have witnessed widespread censorship of information about this disease, its cause, and its treatment. There have been extreme violations of individual rights and freedom, and a call to subjugate one’s personal liberty and choice for “the common good” as defined by pubic officials.

Can an infection in the brain that causes aggression and hostility help explain why some politicians are calling for forced inoculation of vaccine into every body in the world, including people who have already been infected naturally and already have natural immunity?

Can a brain disease explain why the world has agreed to culturally-destructive lockdowns? Were the leaders who agreed to this destruction of their societies previously infected with COVID-19? Since most infections are considered asymptomatic, it’s hard to tell who has been infected in the past.

Whether or not the SARS-CoV-2 is affecting the brain directly, causing people and society to come apart at the seams, may never be researched. It may disqualify anyone who has been infected from being in a position of political power.

Of course, this could offer another way to get out of responsibility for doing aggressive, stupid things. Take the COVID defense. “The virus made me do it”.

Reference:
Coronavirus and the Nervous System
https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Current-Research/Coronavirus-and-NINDS/nervous-system

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