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COVID long-haulers want their stories to be part of the big picture

FILE: Richard Durrant receives his COVID-19 vaccine from Megan Boren, a Salt Lake County Health Department EMT, at the county’s mass vaccination site at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Jan. 18, 2021. Durrant and his wife, Joyce Durrant, were receiving their first doses of the Moderna vaccine. The same site experienced long lines in February, which Salt Lake County officials said came as a result of extra doses available. Photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — The daily news reports the COVID-19 infection, vaccination and hospitalization rates. But a Utah group wants people to start talking about those who have been suffering the long-term effects of the coronavirus: They are the COVID long-haulers.

The group says they’re tired of being left out of the COVID-19 story. 

Who are the COVID long-haulers? 

One study states that about 10% of people who have had COVID-19 will experience prolonged symptoms for one or two — maybe even three months — after they were first infected.

Lisa O’Brien, who said she’s been dealing with the effects of COVID-19 for more than 240 days, organized the Utah COVID-19 Long Haulers Facebook Group as a place where those suffering the long-term effects of the virus can talk about their symptoms while sharing their resources and stories.

O’Brien said her Facebook Group now has more than 2,000 members.

“We’re real people living with this, with families and jobs that some of us haven’t been able to return to,” O’Brien said. “I lost about half of my hair, probably. Long-haulers have been left out of mainstream messaging, you know almost the whole time.”