Pa. health officials concerned about ‘long haulers’ not making complete COVID-19 recovery

By KYW Newsradio 1060

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — New COVID-19 research has revealed that young, healthy people who become infected with the virus can have lingering physical effects weeks and months later.

While it’s not new that adults with severe COVID-19 symptoms can suffer from long-lasting symptoms and disabilities, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said there’s growing information about COVID-19 survivors who they call long haulers.

“True recovery, complete recovery from COVID-19, we are seeing can be a long process,” she said.

She described long haulers as people who had the virus several weeks ago and may be considered “recovered,” but they are still dealing with its lingering effects on their body, such as extreme exhaustion, chest and nerve pain.

She said according to the CDC, more than one-third of the people surveyed who had the virus said they had not returned to their full health.

Many young people with no preexisting conditions also reported lingering symptoms.

“Among people 18 to 34 years of age, younger people who had no chronic medical conditions, 20% of those individuals reported that they had not returned to their usual state of health 14 to 21 days after testing positive,” Levine said.

Levine said a study from France also revealed that there are “long haul” disparities between men and women. Additionally, health care workers exposed to more cases and more severe strains were also more impacted.

“Long-term impacts are more likely to affect women than men. Many of them are health care workers,” she explained.

Levine said the possibility of losing health care due to COVID-19 being considered a preexisting condition is terrifying in the middle of a pandemic.