Lost careers. Broken marriages. Dismissed and disbelieved by family and friends.
These are some of the emotional and financial struggles long covid patients face years after their infection. Physically, they are debilitated and in pain: unable to walk up the stairs, focus on a project, or hold down a job. Facing the end of the federal public health emergency in May, many people experiencing lingering effects of the virus say they feel angry and abandoned by policymakers eager to move on.
“Patients are losing hope,” said Shelby Hedgecock, a self-described long covid survivor from Knoxville, Tennessee, who now advocates for patients like herself. “We feel swept under the rug.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated in March that 6% of U.S. adults, or about 16 million, were experiencing long covid, or ongoing health problems that continue or emerge after a bout of covid-19. Researchers estimate that 1.6% of U.S. adults, or about 4 million, have symptoms that have significantly reduced their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.
While patients are no longer contagious, their health issues can stretch on and affect almost every system in the body. More than 200 symptoms and conditions, including fatigue and depressio …
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