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How Covid changed politics | David Runciman

Four years on from the start of the pandemic, the drama may have subsided but the lingering effects go on. Are we suffering from political long Covid?

Like many people, I have had Covid and I have had long Covid. They are very different experiences. I first caught the disease at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, when its effects were relatively unknown. It was unnerving and highly unpredictable. I did not get particularly sick, but I probably gave the virus to my father, who did. Back then, Covid appeared to be the great divider – the old were far more at risk than the young, and those with pre-existing vulnerabilities most at risk of all – and the great equaliser. Almost everyone experienced the shock and the fear of discovering a novel killer among us. We soon acquired a shared language and a sense of common purpose: to get through this together – whatever this turned out to be.

I developed long Covid last year, six months after I had caught glandular fever. The fresh bout of the Covid virus made the effects of the glandular fever far worse: more debilitating and much harder to shake. Some mornings it was a struggle to get out of bed, never mind leave the house. It was as though Covid latched on to what was already wrong with me and gave it extra teeth. The experience was unpredictable in a very different way from the drama of getting sick in 2020: not a cosmic lottery, but a drawn-out bout of low-level, private misery. Good days were followed by bad days for no obvious reason, hopes of having recovered were snuffed out just when it seemed like the worst was past. Long Covid is less isolating than being locked down, but it is also a lonelier business than getting ill at the peak of the pandemic was, if only because other people have moved on.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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