I’m a Covid-19 ‘long-hauler’. For us, there is no end in sight

I’m a Covid-19 ‘long-hauler’. For us, there is no end in sight

  • Thousands of people like me are suffering ill health months after contracting the virus.
  • We need more help

As a writer, I spend my days trying to craft believable, satisfying narratives. But as a Covid-19 “long-hauler”, I have given up trying to find an internal logic to the story of my illness. As we now know, thousands of people are suffering a range of bewildering and debilitating post-Covid symptoms that don’t follow any predictable act breaks or intervals.

Happily, the recent news about the emergency rescue package for the UK’s cultural industries, including my own, was followed by the NHS announcing an online Covid-19 rehab service, promising a “personalised package of aftercare”. It’s a promising start, but we are still nowhere near understanding the long-term effects of this vicious, capricious virus.

I fell sick in mid-March. My diagnosis of “mild” Covid meant that I avoided going to hospital, but still needed three trips to A&E as the illness peaked. Frustratingly, my tests revealed the “normal” blood, heart, lung and organ function typical of long-haulers. But my body told me otherwise. For six weeks, it felt as though every cell had been poisoned, accompanied by constant chest pain and shortness of breath. During May, I recovered from the worst of it, only to be felled again by a bout of post-viral fatigue that is almost as bad as the disease itself.