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Faye Flam

Evidence Is Mounting That Covid Is Bad for the Brain

Several studies have linked infections with brain fog, trouble concentrating and memory lapses.

The little gray cells.

The little gray cells.

Photographer: Matt Cardy/Getty Images Europe

The possibility that a Covid infection could damage your brain is terrifying. Scientists have established that long Covid often manifests itself with neurological changes — brain fog, memory problems, fatigue. And some researchers have found changes in the brain after even mild cases of the virus. Every time I go on Twitter I see another horrible personal anecdote, often reflecting changes in brain processing speed and an increase in confusion and errors. 

There’s also potentially a deep societal and economic cost. One Brookings Institution report estimated that perhaps 4 million Americans have been unable to work due to long Covid; some of these sufferers have blamed brain fog for ruining their ability to think. What will happen to human beings if our brainpower gets blunted?