COVID-19 long-haulers present an opportunity to examine the broader implications of viruses, such as symptom duration. Importantly, directing care, public health announcements, and reducing transmission will invariably be affected too.
“The medical community now knows that we exist. People who get sick now will have a much easier time than some of what the first people had to go through, like me. They just caught up with the knowledge,” Witvliet concluded.
Ultimately, long-haulers want to resume normalcy but persistent fatigue, brain fog, and headaches leave many spending “the majority of [their] day resting,” like Witvliet. The combined burden of long-term illness and job insecurity leaves many sufferers resorting to online support groups, where survivors feel recognized in their collective recovery.