Watch CBS News

Study Shines Light On 'Long Haulers' Fighting Long-Term Side Effects After Being Diagnosed With COVID-19

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- While some coronavirus survivors recover within a few weeks, some patients find themselves in a battle that seemingly has no end.

Forty-three-year-old Rachael Sunshine, of Coxsackie, New York, is going through a dark time.

She recorded a video while in an upstate New York hospital last week, saying, "I wish I wasn't here. This really sucks."

She's not battling COVID-19, but she's fighting long-term side effects from the virus that she had back in April.

RELATED STORY: COVID-19 Support Groups A Life Line For Survivors Suffering Panic Attacks, Memory Loss, Other Lingering Symptoms

"I have COVID bumps on and off, shortness of breath, fatigue, hair loss, brain fog, incredible pain, a cough that just never goes away," Sunshine told CBS2's Cory James.

Those symptoms are what thousands across the country are also facing.

That includes actress Alyssa Milano, who says she has been living with lingering symptoms for four months.

Medical experts are calling people with this problem "long haulers," and Hell's Kitchen resident Judy Dodd is one of them.

"It's the fatigue. I just still get very fatigued," she said.


Dr. Natalie Lambert at Indiana University School of Medicine helped conduct a study on long haulers and interviewed more than 1,500 people speaking out on a Facebook group called "Survivor Corps."

Among the 98 symptoms detailed in the study, like cough, fever and body aches, Lambert describes the one that constantly came up.

"Difficulty concentrating and memory problems, and you can imagine how that affects their ability to work or function," she said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez says people who are long haulers can still test negative.

"It doesn't mean that the virus is still there, but it has done damage to your system," he said. "And that's what's taking a long time for you to get over."

The CDC reports a third of patients do not return to usual health for at least three weeks after diagnosis.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.