+9 votes
in General Factchecking by Novice (980 points)
An influential doctor posted to X yesterday that Covid-19 (and/or Long Covid) doesn’t damage your immune system. A number of legitimate accounts responded with peer reviewed studies that suggest otherwise.
by Novice (750 points)
I think this was a good headline to check, because it seems like clickbate or a crazy title. Upon further inspection, Covid-19 doesn't affect the immune system in the long term if the case is mild, but severe cases can indeed effect the immune system. Ashish K. Jha is a credited source, as he is the Office of the Dean at Brown University's School of Public Health. He does provide a counter argument to the Covid-19 claim with saying that measles are a real danger.
by Novice (510 points)
This claim is untrue and has been proven false by many major science/health publications such as Cornell Medicine and the CDC. I do not think it is appropriate to state a claim such as this because people who do not fact-check are more susceptible to spreading misinformation and therefore perpetuating this false idea.
by Novice (610 points)
I believe this tweet is inaccurate, studies have proven that one of the long-term effects of COVID-19 is immune dysregulation and dysfunction. COVID-19 can cause the immune system to be overactive or immune system failure, and COVID-19 can even change innate immunity and adaptive immunity.
by Genius (36.2k points)
@rfry @rkesich @dashen thanks for the fact-checks! Please answer the claim rather than make a comment on the claim so that your fact-check can be voted up or selected as the best answer.
by (160 points)
posted: January 16th, 2024
What I found: I believe this post isn’t entirely either correct or incorrect. After doing some research, I found that in most scenarios, if the case is mild it won’t affect the immune system in the long term, if the case is more severe, it will. For example,  I found that the CDC describes people who are immunocompromised who contract Covid-19 are more likely to get sick and be sick for a longer period of time. I also found an article posted by Nature Immunology showing that people who suffer ongoing symptoms of Covid-19, can be caused by immune dysregulation. I think after gaining research from different articles and sources, Ashish’s claim isn’t totally true, but not totally false at the same time. It really depends on the severity of the case and many factors regarding that specific person's health state before contracting the virus.
by Novice (620 points)
Concerning the long-lasting effects of COVID-19, what would the instance of loss of taste classify as? I feel that this is a good answer, given the resources, but how do you classify the effects of the senses? Especially if they last for months.
by Newbie (470 points)
You have great answers to back up what you've found. However, it would be beneficial and
 It would help your argument out more if you posted a link on where you've found your information.

8 Answers

+13 votes
by Apprentice (1.4k points)
selected by
Best answer

Ashish K. Jha is the Dean of the Brown University School and Public Health, and was previously a Global Health professeor at Harvard School of public health. https://dean.sph.brown.edu/dean 


In the main tweet Dr. Jha claims COVID-19 does not do damage to the immune system. He clarifies in a subtweet that it does cause transient lymphocytopenia. Which he says is different from immune damage. He also says those with "long COVID can have immune dysregulation" which he claims to be different from immune damage. I believe he was trying to make a distinction between the two however many people replied with studies conflicting his claim.


Pantea Javidan, a research fellow at the Stanford Center for Human Rights and International Justice, responded with many studies which lead to error screens and pages not found. 

In another response from someone quote tweeting an article tweeted by Scott Gottleib, an American Physician from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, that supports the claim made by Jha. The article is from Nature Immunology a scientific peer-reviewed article established in 2000. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41590-023-01724-6

Its main claim is that people with long lasting covid are experiencing it due to a dysregulation between cellular and humoral adaptive immunity. 

Overall I think the claim made by doctor Jha is true that there is a difference between dysregulation and damage which is important to specify. 

Exaggerated/ Misleading
by Apprentice (1.1k points)
You did well in clarifying who Ashish K. Kha is, being the Dean of Brown University and Public Health and Global Health professor, as it provides a sense of credibility.  I think you can be a little more detailed on the response that Pantea Javidan, like the certain studies which gave error screens and pages not found.  Also, maybe clarifying the quote tweet from Scott Gottleib, as overlooking the article, you can use some numerical evidence to make ur claim sound more believable.  Otherwise you did a great job sourcing different studies to debunk the original claim that COVID does not damage the immune system.
by Genius (36.2k points)
Providing background and context such as details on the person making the claim was super helpful. Good work on your thorough fact-check.
by Novice (570 points)
Great work! I love that you used information from actual health professionals. It's important to be specific with your verbiage when informing on such a huge topic to the public. I'm a bit confused as to why you mentioned Pantea Javidan in this fact-check. It seemed as though she didn't contribute anything to this topic.
by Apprentice (1.0k points)
This was a very good fact-check. It was good you could find the original source and then information from researchers.  A lot of misinformation surrounding COVID is out there, so it is good you could find information that is more likely to be accurate.
by Novice (500 points)
This was a great fact-check! It was smart to add information on Ashish K. Jha because it helps add to the credibility. I also think it was important to explain the difference between immune dysregulation and damage! It's something not a lot of people know of. Explaining the findings of the Nature Immunology article could make things clearer. But overall you used reliable sources to debunk the claim!
+2 votes
by Apprentice (1.2k points)

This claim is misleading. It is true that Covid-19 does not damage your immune system in mild cases. Those who had a severe case and/or had underlying health issues prior to catching Covid-19 are a different case.

Factcheck.org has summarized that most cases of Covid-19 does not cause lasting damage to the immune system with the exception of severe cases of Covid-19 and those with long Covid. Along with the exceptions, some studies have found possible evidence to damages, but nothing of extreme. In article posted on NIH.gov, a study has found not damages, but a change in the immune system belonging to people who previously had a severe case of Covid-19. They found that Covid-19 can change the gene expression in charge of inflammatory cytokines production which is believed to be the cause of long-term inflammation in people with severe Covid-19. 

Exaggerated/ Misleading
by Apprentice (1.2k points)
This fact check was very affirming for me to read. I agree that the claim above is misleading, and you did a great job of verifying that by using the example of how mild cases do not affect your immune system, but those who had a severe case may have had a different exerience.
by Apprentice (1.0k points)
This was a very informative fact check that used two good, credible sources. You did a great job in explaining why the original claim of COVID-19 not damaging the immune system, is misleading in certain cases. You explained the differences between the true parts of the claim, as well as describing why depending on the situation the effects of COVID-19 are different for some cases.
+1 vote
by Newbie (320 points)

In a study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and recorded by the National Institutes of Health Covid-19 Research, it was found that "severe cases of COVID-19 were shown to cause long-lasting changes to the immune system." Researchers studied blood samples from both people recovering from severe COVID-19 and "healthy" people and identified differences in gene expression from the participants' stem cells. The gene expression in the participants recovering from severe cases of COVID-19 had higher production of white blood cells. These cells seemed to produce more chemicals that trigger inflammation compared to the cells of the healthy participants.

+1 vote
by Newbie (360 points)

While not every COVID-19 case will cause long-term immune system issues, "a small study supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), [stated that] severe cases of COVID-19 were shown to cause long-lasting changes to the immune system." (More info can be found here) Researchers came to this conclusion after preforming stem cell research which showed that changes that could be caused by COVID-19 could be present in the white blood cells for up to a year. 

Exaggerated/ Misleading
+1 vote
by Apprentice (1.3k points)
It is true that this influential doctor has made this claim, but he goes to explain lymphocytopenia and how its different than immunocompromised, which is a immune damaging disease stating, "Folks with long COVID can have immune dysregulation. Not same as being immunocompromised". His point was a little misleading as he was trying to make a connection between the two.
by Genius (36.2k points)
What are your sources? Don't forget to cite them and include hyperlinks. Also, please select a rating for each fact-check (true, false, misleading, etc.). Thanks!
by Newbie (470 points)
to make your argument stronger it would be best to provide sources so the readers have something to look at.
by Novice (890 points)
To make your fact check stronger, I would suggest adding direct links that connect with the information you're using and quoting. I would also say to clarify each claim that you are calling true so that people can understand how this doctor seemed misleading in your fact check.
0 votes
by Novice (620 points)

This post is misleading because according to Severe COVID-19 May Cause Long-Term Immune System Changes | NIH COVID-19 Research, this can be an issue depending on the severity of your experience. This statement is false as it is claiming that Covid-19 doesn't affect your immune system (at all). 

0 votes
by Novice (580 points)
This is a great fact check! I think it would be more benefical to add some more information to it tho. The title says that covid 19 does not damage your immune system. This seems like clitbate becuase there is not much information to back it.
0 votes
ago by Master (4.2k points)

This claim is false. According to the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, "severe cases of COVID-19 were shown to cause long-lasting changes to the immune system." Their study showed that the stem cells of people who recovered from severe cases of COVID-19 produced more white cells, which caused more inflammatory signals. Reported by TIME, in a paper published in the journal Cell, an essential part of the immune system is still activated to fight COVID-19 and will remain in the system for at least a year.


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