Yosef from Monsey was one of the many struck with the novel coronavirus when it first blew through the New York area in mid-March. He was bedridden with aches, fever and a pneumonia-induced cough for more than two weeks. Yosef recalled his fears when he experienced trouble breathing, but he never required hospitalization and by the time Pesach came, he was on the road to recovery.
Remnants of the pneumonia dogged him with chest pain for another month or so, but he slowly returned to his demanding daily schedule. Energetic by nature, Yosef was determined to push himself to live up to his many professional and personal responsibilities, but more than four months after shaking COVID symptoms, persistent fatigue still makes it a daily struggle.
“I feel that I have to fight to do everything I need to do,” said Yosef. “I wake up with a tiredness no matter how much I’ve slept, and even after I push myself out of bed and start my day, every exertion tires me out. Sometimes I think it’s psychological, but I keep on hearing the same thing from friends who had COVID, too.”
Avi from Boro Park had a mild case of COVID, and after about a week of touch-and-go fever and a cough, was back on his feet. Even so, he still experiences bouts of weakness and sporadically low oxygen levels, and his preexisting sleep apnea and hives have worsened.
“I felt much better after a few days of the virus, but then I started to feel this weakness, which still comes and goes,” said Avi. “Part of the problem is you don’t know what to associate with corona and what not to, because there is so much that is unknown.”
Their stories are hardly unique. As the number of recovered COVID patients grows, so too does the commonality of people who report that symptoms persist for months, even after they have recovered. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that one in three COVID patients experienced at least one long-term symptom, and, among patients in their 20s and 30s, the ratio is one in five.