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Global economy 2023: what happens next with industrial action

With real wages in many countries having been stagnant for years, the inflation surge has brought unions back to life.



Worker unrest has been surging around the world. voy ager

This is the fifth instalment in our series on where the global economy is heading in 2023. It follows recent articles on inflation, energy, food and the cost of living.

Canada: assertive unions getting results

Jim Stanford, Economist and Director, Centre for Future Work, Australia Institute

Canada’s trade union movement is among the more resilient in the OECD, the club of developed countries. This is related to laws that prevent “free riding”, which is where workers can benefit from collective agreements without being union members.

Union density in Canada has been around 30% of workers since the turn of the century, although membership in the private sector is barely half that and slowly falling. In contrast, unionisation is high in public services (over 75%) and growing.

This relatively stability has left Canadian workers better prepared to confront the impact of inflation on their wages. Unions made higher wage demands than in recent decades, and more frequently went on strike (continuing a trend from 2021).

From January to October 2022, there were 145 strikes, and the final year tally will likely exceed the 161 in 2021 – itself a marked increase. A total of 1.9 million person-days of work were lost in strikes up to October (the highest in 15 years). Unlike in recent years, the majority were in the private sector.

A spring wave of strikes in construction in Ontario (Canada’s most populous province) symbolised the increased militancy. At peak, over 40,000 workers downed tools for higher wages, including carpenters, dry-wallers and engineers. Tentative agreements reached by officials were sometimes rejected by members, prolonging the strikes.

A second historic flash point came later in the year when Ontario’s right-wing government invoked a rarely used constitutional clause to override the right to strike for 55,000 education support workers. After unions in the public and private sector threatened a province-wide general strike, the government backed down.

Meanwhile, employer lockouts have virtually disappeared. This tactic, in which employers suspend operations until workers agree to terms being offered, had only been used eight times by October, compared to 60 per year a decade ago.

Annual wage growth increased modestly to an average of 5% by late in the year. That still lagged the 6.8% inflation, but closed the gap from 2021.

It remains to be seen whether this union pressure can be sustained in the face of rapid interest rate increases, a likely recession in 2023, and continued government suppression of union rights in some provinces.

United Kingdom: an olive branch for the health service?

Phil Tomlinson, Professor of Industrial Strategy, University of Bath

The UK’s latest winter of discontent is extending into 2023 as the country endures its largest wave of strikes in over 30 years. Most are in the public sector, where pay offers are well below inflation and significantly lag private companies.

The sense of grievance is high following the austerity and real-terms pay cuts of the 2010s. Strikes – estimated to have cost the UK economy £1.7 billion in 2022 – are being co-ordinated across different unions, adding to the public inconvenience.

The UK government has steadfastly refused to yield, however. It has hidden behind independent recommendations by public-sector pay review bodies, despite not always following them. They have also claimed that inflation matching public sector pay rises would cost each UK household an extra £1,000 a year, though this figure has been debunked.

The Treasury also echoes Bank of England concerns about setting off a wage-price spiral. Yet this is unlikely, given the current inflation is largely down to supply shocks (from COVID and the war in Ukraine), while average wage growth is well below inflation.

There is an economic case for a generous deal, especially in the National Health Service (NHS): with over 133,000 unfilled vacancies, better wages might help improve staff retention and recruitment. Of course, funding this in a recession involves tough choices.

Higher taxes would be politically difficult with the tax burden at a 70-year high. Higher government borrowing could aggravate inflation if accommodated by the Bank of England increasing the money supply through more quantitative easing.

Public opinion appears largely sympathetic to the strikes, especially in the NHS. But if the government relents in one sector, it sets a precedent for others, with potentially wider economic consequences.

For the NHS, it may instead bring forward public sector pay review body negotiations for 2023 to allow for an improved deal – possibly alongside a one-off hardship payment. Elsewhere it will probably hold firm and hope the trade unions lose their resolve.

Australia and New Zealand: strikes remain rare despite inflation

Jim Stanford, Economist and Director, Centre for Future Work, Australia Institute

Strikes in Australia have become very rare in recent decades, thanks to restrictive labour laws passed since the 1990s. Despite historically low unemployment and wages lagging far behind inflation, these laws continue to short-circuit most industrial action.

In 2022, union density fell to 12.5% of employees, an all-time low. As recently as 1990, union density was over 50% of workers. Union members can legally strike only after negotiations, ballots and specific plans for action have been publicly divulged (thus fully revealing union strategy to the employer). Even when there are strikes, they tend to be short.

A total of 182 industrial disputes occurred in the year to September. (The statistics don’t distinguish between strikes and employer lockouts, which have become common in Australia.) This is similar to the pre-COVID years, following a drop in 2020, and only a fraction of 1970s and 1980s industrial action.

The only visible increase in strike action in 2022 was a series of one-day protest strikes organised by teachers and health care workers in New South Wales, the country’s most populous state. Having put up with a decade of austere wage caps by the conservative state government, they decided they had had enough as inflation picked up.

Most other workers have been passive despite Australia experiencing among the slowest wage growth of any major industrial country. Nominal wages grew just 2% per year over the decade to 2021. That rose to 3.1% by late 2022, but it’s still less than half the 7.3% inflation rate.

Australia’s newly elected Labor government did pass a series of important labour law reforms at the end of 2022, aimed at strengthening collective bargaining and wage growth. That might herald incremental improvement in workers’ bargaining power in the years ahead.

The industrial relations outlook in New Zealand is somewhat more hospitable for workers and their unions. Union density increased in 2021, to 17% of employees (from 14% in 2020). Average ordinary hourly earnings grew an impressive 7.4% in the latest 12-month period – helped by a 6% boost in the minimum wage by New Zealand’s Labour government.

Industrial action remains rare – perhaps in part because workers are successfully lifting wages via other means. No official strike data is available for 2022, but in 2021, just 20 work stoppages occurred, down sharply from an average of 140 per year in the previous three years.

Indonesia: anger against labour law reforms

Nabiyla Risfa Izzati, Lecturer of Labour Law, Universitas Gadjah Mada

A few weeks ago, the government replaced its controversial “omnibus law” with new emergency regulation. This was in response to the Indonesian constitutional court finding it unconstitutional in 2021.

Passed in late 2020, the omnibus law embodies President Joko Widodo’s ambition to attract foreign investors by slashing red tape at the cost of employees’ rights. It made it easier for businesses to lay off employees without prior notice.

It also lowered statutory severance pay and extended the maximum length of temporary contracts, while ignoring worker safety. In 2022, its new formula to determine the minimum wage also resulted in the lowest annual increase ever. The law attracted much criticism from workers, activists and civil society organisations.

The new emergency regulation is arguably even more problematic. The majority of its provision simply copies the omnibus law. Several changes and additional provisions are confusing and overlap with previous regulations, as well as leaving many loopholes that could be exploited in future.

Yet despite complaints from workers and trade unions that the new rules were passed suddenly and without consultation, strike action is out of the question. Strikes are not popular because they can only be organised with permission from the company in question. If labourers hold informal strikes, employers also entitled to get rid of them.

Public protests are the obvious alternative, though pandemic rules restricting mobility and mass gatherings have made these difficult. Nevetheless, thousands or perhaps even millions of workers staged protests in their respective cities in the second half of 2022.

The workers wanted the omnibus law revoked, and for the government to not use the minimum wage formulations stipulated in the law. The demonstrations got more intense as the government raised subsidised fuel prices in September, which boosted already high inflation due to rising food prices.

The government has since issued a separate regulation to determine the 2023 minimum wage, so the demands were successful, although both workers and employers are furious that the minimum wage rules have changed again under the emergency regulation.

Clearly the protesters did not see the rest of the rules in the omnibus law removed. Some workers have been protesting on social media. This might not induce the government to change the law, but a few viral tweets have pushed several businesses to change abusive practices.

The controversy is likely to continue in 2023 and into the election year of 2024, especially amid possible massive layoffs in the midst of a global recession.

United States: worker protest showing signs of life

Marick Masters, Professor of Business and Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Wayne State University

US workers organised and took to the picket line in increased numbers in 2022 to demand better pay and working conditions, leading to optimism among labour leaders and advocates that they’re witnessing a turnaround in labour’s sagging fortunes.

Teachers, journalists and baristas were among tens of thousands of workers who went on strike. And it took an act of Congress to prevent 115,000 railroad employees from walking out as well.

In total, there have been at least 20 major work stoppages involving upwards of 1,000 workers each in 2022, up from 16 in 2021, plus hundreds more that were smaller.

Workers at Starbucks, Amazon, Apple and dozens of other companies also filed over 2,000 petitions to form unions during the year – the most since 2015. Workers won 76% of the 1,363 elections that were held.

Historically, however, these figures are tepid. The number of major work stoppages has been plunging for decades, from nearly 200 as recently as 1980.

As of 2021, union membership was at about the lowest level on record, at 10.3%. In the 1950s, over one in three workers belonged to a union.

The deck is still heavily stacked against unions, with unsupportive labour laws and very few employers showing real receptivity to having a unionised workforce. Unions are limited in how much they can change public policy. Reforming labour law through legislation has remained elusive, and the results of the 2022 midterms are not likely to make it easier.

Nonetheless, public support for labour is at its highest since 1965, with 71% saying they approve of unions, according to a Gallup poll in August. And workers themselves are increasingly showing an interest in joining them.

In 2017, 48% of workers polled said they would vote for union representation, up from 32% in 1995, the last time the question was asked.

Future success may depend on unions’ ability to tap into their growing popularity and emulate the recent wins in establishing union representation at Starbucks and Amazon, as well as the successful “Fight for $15” campaign, which since 2012 has helped pass US$15 minimum wage laws in a dozen states and Washington DC.

The odds may be steep, but the seeds of opportunity are there if labour can exploit them.

This is an excerpt from an article published on January 5 2023.

France: militant unions risk going too far

Stéphanie Matteudi-Lecocq, Chercheuse au LEREDS, Directrice practice Chez Alixio, Université de Lille

France in 2022 saw new industrial protests, from blockades of oil refineries, to unprecedented strikes at EDF’s nuclear power plants, to rail workers staying at home on public holidays.

TotalEnergies announced “super profits” in the second quarter of 2022 and increased CEO Patrick Pouyanné’s salary by 52% to €5,944,129. In September the militant CGT union demanded a 10% salary increase for workers and called for a strike at the group’s refineries.

Five of Total’s refineries went on strike, joined by two owned by ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso. Esso was already talking to its unions about a pay deal, but Total had only planned to open negotiations in November.

The strikes in the refineries threatened to bring France to a standstill, and the CGT used its power over this key resource to demand that discussions begin more quickly with Total (in the end, the company negotiated earlier and pay deals were done, ending the strikes by early November).

The strike at EDF’s nuclear power stations similarly gave the company’s workers the balance of power because it made it impossible for France to build up energy reserves (since fossil fuels had to be burned to make up for the lack of nuclear power). In the end, the company signed deals with the unions in October.

Unions may have succeeded in both cases, but they are arguably endangered by these kinds of practices. Too many trades union leaders remain stuck in their old militant ways.

There’s a fragile balance between negotiation and protest, and such ransom tactics might damage unions’ public image, making dialogue more difficult in future. In 50 years, the rate of unionisation in France has already halved from over 20% to around 10%.

It’s telling that two of the major strikes at the end of 2022, first by train workers and then by general practitioners, were initiated by groups independent from the unions. They both started spontaneously through social media and the unions found out very late.

In 2023 the unions have an opportunity to improve their influence if they manage to prevent the government from passing its unpopular bill on pensions, which seeks to raise the full pensionable retirement age from 62 to 64 or 65.

The unions have already announced their strong opposition to the bill. With major demonstrations due to take place after the full bill is presented today, January 10, it will be interesting to see their tactics.

This is based on an excerpt from an article published in October 2022.

Spain: unequal support measures could cause trouble

Rubén Garrido-Yserte, Director del Instituto Universitario de Análisis Económico y Social, Universidad de Alcalá

Global inflation is triggering a global economic slowdown and interest rates raised to levels not seen since before 2008. Interest rates will continue to rise in 2023, especially affecting economies as indebted as Spain.

It will undermine both families’ disposable income and the profitability of companies (especially small ones), while making public debt repayments more expensive. Meanwhile, inflation is expected to cause a sustained increase in the cost of the shopping basket in the medium term.

Government measures have partially mitigated this loss of purchasing power so far. Spain capped power prices, subsidised fuel and made public transport free for urbanites and commuters.

There were agreements with banks to refinance mortgages for the most vulnerable families. Plus there have been increases in pensions and public salaries and there are plans to raise the minimum wage.

However, many of these measures must necessarily be temporary. The danger is that they come to be seen as rights that should not be renounced. They also distort the economy and create problems with fairness by excluding or insufficiently supporting some groups. Private salaries will not rise enough to cover inflation, for instance.

The government’s measures have been such that there has been very little industrial action in response to the cost of living crisis. The danger is that they create a scenario where today’s calm may be the harbinger of a social storm tomorrow.

This article is part of Global Economy 2023, our series about the challenges facing the world in the year ahead. You might also like our Global Economy Newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.

Phil Tomlinson currently receives funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for Made Smarter Innovation: Centre for People-Led Digitalisation, and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for an Interact project on UK co-working spaces and manufacturing.

Jim Stanford, Marick Masters, Nabiyla Risfa Izzati, Rubén Garrido-Yserte, and Stéphanie Matteudi-Lecocq do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super…



Are Voters Recoiling Against Disorder?

Authored by Michael Barone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The headlines coming out of the Super Tuesday primaries have got it right. Barring cataclysmic changes, Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be the Republican and Democratic nominees for president in 2024.

(Left) President Joe Biden delivers remarks on canceling student debt at Culver City Julian Dixon Library in Culver City, Calif., on Feb. 21, 2024. (Right) Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump stands on stage during a campaign event at Big League Dreams Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nev., on Jan. 27, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images; David Becker/Getty Images)

With Nikki Haley’s withdrawal, there will be no more significantly contested primaries or caucuses—the earliest both parties’ races have been over since something like the current primary-dominated system was put in place in 1972.

The primary results have spotlighted some of both nominees’ weaknesses.

Donald Trump lost high-income, high-educated constituencies, including the entire metro area—aka the Swamp. Many but by no means all Haley votes there were cast by Biden Democrats. Mr. Trump can’t afford to lose too many of the others in target states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Majorities and large minorities of voters in overwhelmingly Latino counties in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley and some in Houston voted against Joe Biden, and even more against Senate nominee Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas).

Returns from Hispanic precincts in New Hampshire and Massachusetts show the same thing. Mr. Biden can’t afford to lose too many Latino votes in target states like Arizona and Georgia.

When Mr. Trump rode down that escalator in 2015, commentators assumed he’d repel Latinos. Instead, Latino voters nationally, and especially the closest eyewitnesses of Biden’s open-border policy, have been trending heavily Republican.

High-income liberal Democrats may sport lawn signs proclaiming, “In this house, we believe ... no human is illegal.” The logical consequence of that belief is an open border. But modest-income folks in border counties know that flows of illegal immigrants result in disorder, disease, and crime.

There is plenty of impatience with increased disorder in election returns below the presidential level. Consider Los Angeles County, America’s largest county, with nearly 10 million people, more people than 40 of the 50 states. It voted 71 percent for Mr. Biden in 2020.

Current returns show county District Attorney George Gascon winning only 21 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan primary. He’ll apparently face Republican Nathan Hochman, a critic of his liberal policies, in November.

Gascon, elected after the May 2020 death of counterfeit-passing suspect George Floyd in Minneapolis, is one of many county prosecutors supported by billionaire George Soros. His policies include not charging juveniles as adults, not seeking higher penalties for gang membership or use of firearms, and bringing fewer misdemeanor cases.

The predictable result has been increased car thefts, burglaries, and personal robberies. Some 120 assistant district attorneys have left the office, and there’s a backlog of 10,000 unprosecuted cases.

More than a dozen other Soros-backed and similarly liberal prosecutors have faced strong opposition or have left office.

St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner resigned last May amid lawsuits seeking her removal, Milwaukee’s John Chisholm retired in January, and Baltimore’s Marilyn Mosby was defeated in July 2022 and convicted of perjury in September 2023. Last November, Loudoun County, Virginia, voters (62 percent Biden) ousted liberal Buta Biberaj, who declined to prosecute a transgender student for assault, and in June 2022 voters in San Francisco (85 percent Biden) recalled famed radical Chesa Boudin.

Similarly, this Tuesday, voters in San Francisco passed ballot measures strengthening police powers and requiring treatment of drug-addicted welfare recipients.

In retrospect, it appears the Floyd video, appearing after three months of COVID-19 confinement, sparked a frenzied, even crazed reaction, especially among the highly educated and articulate. One fatal incident was seen as proof that America’s “systemic racism” was worse than ever and that police forces should be defunded and perhaps abolished.

2020 was “the year America went crazy,” I wrote in January 2021, a year in which police funding was actually cut by Democrats in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver. A year in which young New York Times (NYT) staffers claimed they were endangered by the publication of Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-Ark.) opinion article advocating calling in military forces if necessary to stop rioting, as had been done in Detroit in 1967 and Los Angeles in 1992. A craven NYT publisher even fired the editorial page editor for running the article.

Evidence of visible and tangible discontent with increasing violence and its consequences—barren and locked shelves in Manhattan chain drugstores, skyrocketing carjackings in Washington, D.C.—is as unmistakable in polls and election results as it is in daily life in large metropolitan areas. Maybe 2024 will turn out to be the year even liberal America stopped acting crazy.

Chaos and disorder work against incumbents, as they did in 1968 when Democrats saw their party’s popular vote fall from 61 percent to 43 percent.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 23:20

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Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),




Veterans Affairs Kept COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate In Place Without Evidence

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reviewed no data when deciding in 2023 to keep its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in place.

Doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in Washington in a file image. (Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough said on May 1, 2023, that the end of many other federal mandates “will not impact current policies at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

He said the mandate was remaining for VA health care personnel “to ensure the safety of veterans and our colleagues.”

Mr. McDonough did not cite any studies or other data. A VA spokesperson declined to provide any data that was reviewed when deciding not to rescind the mandate. The Epoch Times submitted a Freedom of Information Act for “all documents outlining which data was relied upon when establishing the mandate when deciding to keep the mandate in place.”

The agency searched for such data and did not find any.

The VA does not even attempt to justify its policies with science, because it can’t,” Leslie Manookian, president and founder of the Health Freedom Defense Fund, told The Epoch Times.

“The VA just trusts that the process and cost of challenging its unfounded policies is so onerous, most people are dissuaded from even trying,” she added.

The VA’s mandate remains in place to this day.

The VA’s website claims that vaccines “help protect you from getting severe illness” and “offer good protection against most COVID-19 variants,” pointing in part to observational data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimate the vaccines provide poor protection against symptomatic infection and transient shielding against hospitalization.

There have also been increasing concerns among outside scientists about confirmed side effects like heart inflammation—the VA hid a safety signal it detected for the inflammation—and possible side effects such as tinnitus, which shift the benefit-risk calculus.

President Joe Biden imposed a slate of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in 2021. The VA was the first federal agency to implement a mandate.

President Biden rescinded the mandates in May 2023, citing a drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. His administration maintains the choice to require vaccines was the right one and saved lives.

“Our administration’s vaccination requirements helped ensure the safety of workers in critical workforces including those in the healthcare and education sectors, protecting themselves and the populations they serve, and strengthening their ability to provide services without disruptions to operations,” the White House said.

Some experts said requiring vaccination meant many younger people were forced to get a vaccine despite the risks potentially outweighing the benefits, leaving fewer doses for older adults.

By mandating the vaccines to younger people and those with natural immunity from having had COVID, older people in the U.S. and other countries did not have access to them, and many people might have died because of that,” Martin Kulldorff, a professor of medicine on leave from Harvard Medical School, told The Epoch Times previously.

The VA was one of just a handful of agencies to keep its mandate in place following the removal of many federal mandates.

“At this time, the vaccine requirement will remain in effect for VA health care personnel, including VA psychologists, pharmacists, social workers, nursing assistants, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, peer specialists, medical support assistants, engineers, housekeepers, and other clinical, administrative, and infrastructure support employees,” Mr. McDonough wrote to VA employees at the time.

This also includes VA volunteers and contractors. Effectively, this means that any Veterans Health Administration (VHA) employee, volunteer, or contractor who works in VHA facilities, visits VHA facilities, or provides direct care to those we serve will still be subject to the vaccine requirement at this time,” he said. “We continue to monitor and discuss this requirement, and we will provide more information about the vaccination requirements for VA health care employees soon. As always, we will process requests for vaccination exceptions in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies.”

The version of the shots cleared in the fall of 2022, and available through the fall of 2023, did not have any clinical trial data supporting them.

A new version was approved in the fall of 2023 because there were indications that the shots not only offered temporary protection but also that the level of protection was lower than what was observed during earlier stages of the pandemic.

Ms. Manookian, whose group has challenged several of the federal mandates, said that the mandate “illustrates the dangers of the administrative state and how these federal agencies have become a law unto themselves.”

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 22:10

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Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate…



Low Iron Levels In Blood Could Trigger Long COVID: Study

Authored by Amie Dahnke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

People with inadequate iron levels in their blood due to a COVID-19 infection could be at greater risk of long COVID.


A new study indicates that problems with iron levels in the bloodstream likely trigger chronic inflammation and other conditions associated with the post-COVID phenomenon. The findings, published on March 1 in Nature Immunology, could offer new ways to treat or prevent the condition.

Long COVID Patients Have Low Iron Levels

Researchers at the University of Cambridge pinpointed low iron as a potential link to long-COVID symptoms thanks to a study they initiated shortly after the start of the pandemic. They recruited people who tested positive for the virus to provide blood samples for analysis over a year, which allowed the researchers to look for post-infection changes in the blood. The researchers looked at 214 samples and found that 45 percent of patients reported symptoms of long COVID that lasted between three and 10 months.

In analyzing the blood samples, the research team noticed that people experiencing long COVID had low iron levels, contributing to anemia and low red blood cell production, just two weeks after they were diagnosed with COVID-19. This was true for patients regardless of age, sex, or the initial severity of their infection.

According to one of the study co-authors, the removal of iron from the bloodstream is a natural process and defense mechanism of the body.

But it can jeopardize a person’s recovery.

When the body has an infection, it responds by removing iron from the bloodstream. This protects us from potentially lethal bacteria that capture the iron in the bloodstream and grow rapidly. It’s an evolutionary response that redistributes iron in the body, and the blood plasma becomes an iron desert,” University of Oxford professor Hal Drakesmith said in a press release. “However, if this goes on for a long time, there is less iron for red blood cells, so oxygen is transported less efficiently affecting metabolism and energy production, and for white blood cells, which need iron to work properly. The protective mechanism ends up becoming a problem.”

The research team believes that consistently low iron levels could explain why individuals with long COVID continue to experience fatigue and difficulty exercising. As such, the researchers suggested iron supplementation to help regulate and prevent the often debilitating symptoms associated with long COVID.

It isn’t necessarily the case that individuals don’t have enough iron in their body, it’s just that it’s trapped in the wrong place,” Aimee Hanson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge who worked on the study, said in the press release. “What we need is a way to remobilize the iron and pull it back into the bloodstream, where it becomes more useful to the red blood cells.”

The research team pointed out that iron supplementation isn’t always straightforward. Achieving the right level of iron varies from person to person. Too much iron can cause stomach issues, ranging from constipation, nausea, and abdominal pain to gastritis and gastric lesions.

1 in 5 Still Affected by Long COVID

COVID-19 has affected nearly 40 percent of Americans, with one in five of those still suffering from symptoms of long COVID, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Long COVID is marked by health issues that continue at least four weeks after an individual was initially diagnosed with COVID-19. Symptoms can last for days, weeks, months, or years and may include fatigue, cough or chest pain, headache, brain fog, depression or anxiety, digestive issues, and joint or muscle pain.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/09/2024 - 12:50

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