NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While some coronavirus survivors recover within a few weeks, some patients find themselves in a battle that seemingly has no end.
Forty-three-year-old Rachael Sunshine, of Coxsackie, New York, is going through a dark time.
She recorded a video while in an upstate New York hospital last week, saying, “I wish I wasn’t here. This really sucks.”
She’s not battling COVID-19, but she’s fighting long-term side effects from the virus that she had back in April.
“I have COVID bumps on and off, shortness of breath, fatigue, hair loss, brain fog, incredible pain, a cough that just never goes away,” Sunshine told CBS2’s Cory James.
Those symptoms are what thousands across the country are also facing.
That includes actress Alyssa Milano, who says she has been living with lingering symptoms for four months.
Medical experts are calling people with this problem “long haulers,” and Hell’s Kitchen resident Judy Dodd is one of them.
“It’s the fatigue. I just still get very fatigued,” she said.
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Dr. Natalie Lambert at Indiana University School of Medicine helped conduct a study on long haulers and interviewed more than 1,500 people speaking out on a Facebook group called “Survivor Corps.”
Among the 98 symptoms detailed in the study, like cough, fever and body aches, Lambert describes the one that constantly came up.
“Difficulty concentrating and memory problems, and you can imagine how that affects their ability to work or function,” she said.
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CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez says people who are long haulers can still test negative.
“It doesn’t mean that the virus is still there, but it has done damage to your system,” he said. “And that’s what’s taking a long time for you to get over.”
The CDC reports a third of patients do not return to usual health for at least three weeks after diagnosis.