Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
89.1 transmitter operating at low power until Wednesday

Vaccination Nation: The not-so-long odds of long COVID

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky answers is seen during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky answers is seen during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC.

Rebecca Heick first started feeling COVID symptoms back in 2020. She’s an assistant professor of public health at Augustana College in Illinois and wasn’t able to teach for 13 weeks.

More than a year and a half later, she’s still having difficulty breathing, experiencing mental fog, and living with PTSD.

“There were some days I wasn’t sure I could walk the 75 yards back to my office from my classroom because my brain fog and joint pain would be so bad,” she told 1A Producer Chris Remington. 

Heick is one of the millions of Americans living with long COVID symptoms. According to a new report by the CDC, one in five COVID survivors under the age of 65 has experienced a health condition that could be considered long COVID. For seniors, that number rises to one in four.

Dr. Ziyad Al-Aliy is the director of the Clinical Epidemiology Center and is a chief researcher at the St. Louis Health Care System. He works in a clinic with veterans suffering from long COVID and says the symptoms can vary greatly from person to person.

“Many patients are coming back to the clinic a year and a half after having COVID-19 and some of them are developing onset diabetes and heart disease. We lump all of these experiences under long COVID but it’s unlikely to be just one thing,” he said.

We assemble a panel of experts to discuss long COVID and ask listeners to share their experiences.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5