Returning to Work: Millions in Uncharted Waters with Long-Haul COVID-19

  • Long-haul COVID-19 is becoming an ever-growing concern for both the healthcare sector and the general workforce.
  • An estimated 8 million people, may end up with symptoms of long COVID that could affect their ability to work.
  • People are reporting hundreds of symptoms, but fatigue, brain fog, and anxiety are the most common long-hauler symptoms affecting work life.
  • An increasing number of people with milder cases are also developing long COVID.

Nearly 18 months into the pandemic in the United States, a growing number of formerly healthy people are facing serious and long-term symptoms associated with long-haul COVID-19.

For many people, these symptoms are not just affecting their physical health, but their mental and financial health as many can no longer show up to their work due to long-term effects from COVID-19.

The toll of COVID-19

At 38 years old, Davida Wynn had never imagined she would have to give up her dream job of being a clinical nurse.

Just a few months into the pandemic, in May 2020, she contracted SARS-CoV-2 and became severely ill with COVID-19.

She ended up spending 6 weeks in a medically-induced coma on a ventilator.

When she was finally out of the hospital, she spent weeks in intensive rehabilitation, learning how to walk again.

“It was an absolute nightmare,” she said of her time battling COVID-19 in the ICU.

After leaving the hospital, she discovered that the coronavirus left lasting damage on multiple organs. Gnawing pain in her joints and muscles kept her up all night. Waves of severe fatigue prevented her from leaving her bed or couch, let alone go outside or back to work, where she might spend hours on her feet caring for patients.

Six months later, following a referral to a rheumatologist, doctors confirmed her diagnosis: long COVID, or post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) as it is known in the medical community.

Wynn is just one of the millions of people impacted by long COVID-19 symptoms.


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