SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Some people who have battled and survived coronavirus are still feeling the effects of the virus weeks and months later.
Quarantined away from her home and family, Daisy Martinez is living in a hotel room.
It has been five months since the Monrovia grandmother was diagnosed with coronavirus pneumonia, making her one of a growing number of what scientists are calling “long haulers.”
Racked with breathing problems, brain fog, hair loss, a lingering cough, and exhaustion, Martinez — who works at the Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina — is finally able to return to shortened workdays but she says she will stay in the hotel for at least three additional weeks to avoid re-infecting her family.
“Now we have these new variant viruses and you can get sick again,” Martinez said.
Martinez is one of the hundreds of coronavirus patients across the state now participating in a coronavirus clinic to find out just how many long-term effects like depression, forgetfulness, and heart and lung clots are plaguing those who thought they survived the worst.
“I’m hoping that whatever they find out from my ailments from the COVID and other people and find out what it’s doing to people and why we are feeling the effects months later,” Martinez said.
A new study published in the Journal of Neurovirology found that about 10% of patients they studied, who had not been hospitalized and were between the ages of 35 and 56, reported persistent cognitive symptoms that lasted at least 14 weeks.
Experts have also said around 10% of coronavirus patients overall may be among the category who will experience long-term health effects of the virus.
“There is a small group of patients that seem to have long-term complications of this acute infection. We think that number is something around 10% of the infected people.”
Medical sociologist and University of California Riverside Professor, Dr. Richard Carpiano said he is concerned about the potential long-lasting effects coronavirus can have.
“Often we think about COVID, it’s something you get very sick with it and you either recover or sadly you might die from it, but the reality is it’s just not that simple,” Carpiano said. “Lots more of these lingering symptoms, a substantial number of people are experiencing them and science is really just getting to an understanding of what is going on with this.”