Recovering COVID patients dealing with long-term effects find solace in online community

COVID-19 News and Information

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Thursday, October 29, 2020
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While many people recover from the coronavirus, some deal with the lingering effects of the virus for months after.

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- While many people recover from the coronavirus, some deal with the lingering effects of the virus for months after. These so-called long haulers are sharing information and giving each other support in an online community.

"You are absolutely terrified, every time you close your eyes, you think, 'Am I going to wake up?'" said Erica Ross, COVID-19 survivor.

Back in March in New York City, the dark days of COVID-19, Ross was convinced she wouldn't beat the virus.

Alone in her Upper East Side apartment, she made an agonizing decision.

"I put a sticky note on my front door with my best friend's phone number as my emergency contact in case I died and they needed to know what to do with my body," she said.

Ross spent weeks in bed with double pneumonia, a high fever, agonizing joint pain and headaches, and a wicked cough.

Then, there were the terrifying mind games.

"You're like a bomb that can explode at any time. When you're sick you have the ability to kill someone and that's a very overwhelming feeling," Ross said.

RELATED: NYC hospital operating post-COVID care center

Even now, 7 months later, though Erica has tested negative for COVID, the lingering effects can at times be unbearable and baffling.

"I would smell cigarette smoke where ever I went," she said.

That's something that each and every one of these other so-called long haulers can relate to.

"Nobody seemed to understand what I was going through," one person said.

"It actually it bought me to tears because I realized I wasn't insane," another added.

The COVID-19 survivors lean on each other for support.

"The biggest thing is the psychological aspect, knowing I'm not alone in this and I'm not crazy," a survivor said.

"That's why I joined this group, there has to be people with the same symptoms to validate my concerns and it did," another said.

This is getting them though the unexpected post COVID battle, one zoom at a time.

I get these blue lines that would come in my hands and fingers and no doctor could figure out what it was," a survivor said.

Ross told Eyewitness News that linking up with this community has been crucial to her recovery.

"I felt heard, I felt like I had a voice again and I knew I was in good company with other people trying to figure this out together," she said.

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