Millions of people experience long-term effects due to COVID-19
It’s been nearly two years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and there are parts of the virus that continue to be a mystery, such as why some people suffer from symptoms months or even years after they first test positive.
Those who are still dealing with the effects of having the virus say that they are frustrated, confused and are struggling to find the proper care.
Daniel Cravero has been in and out of the intensive care unit at least 10 times. This is not even counting his initial bout of COVID-19.
“Emotionally, I’m a little nervous. I’m scared. I’m 23 years old,” he says.
His most recent trip to the hospital left him nearly dead. Machines had to run his heart and lungs, and he was on more than a dozen medications.
“At that point they told my mother, ‘Prepare for the worst. He might not make it through the night,’” Cravero says.
Since getting COVID-19 in December 2020, Cravero has had serious issues with his heart, lungs, stomach and autoimmune disorders. He did not have these issues before contracting the illness.
Millions of Americans are said to be dealing with long-term effects of the virus, affecting them in many different ways.
“The brain fog, which is sort of this steady state where you are sort of bummed and confused and bored and anxious,” says Keith Norton.
It is still happening today, nearly two years after he got COVID-19. Norton is a voice actor and battled the virus for about five weeks at home during the first wave.
But it is what followed that really shook the 46-year-old. He went from one doctor to eight. There were sleepless nights and endless coughing. He says that the worst was his head.
“The neurologist started using words like ‘dementia’ and ‘Alzheimer’s.’ That was, for me, the scariest and lowest moment,” Norton says.
It lasted about a year. Norton says that his memory is coming back, and he is about 90% better.
Cravero is nowhere near that. He is desperately seeking a special therapy with a doctor in New York City. He contracted the virus while working as an EMT for Hackensack Meridian Health. He says his insurance won’t cover the therapy, threatening the first glimmer of hope he has had in months.
“You’re getting worse, but there’s nothing we can do. So we finally found an alternative solution. I just want to get better,” he says.
Cravero is seeking IVIG Treatment, which is still being studied. He says that no doctors in the hospital system for which he works are using it to treat COVID-19. He says he is trying to get it somewhere else.
A spokesperson for Hackensack Meridian did not return a request for comment.