Coronavirus infections can vary widely. Some people have relatively mild symptoms, more like a cold, particularly if they have been vaccinated.
For others, the infection is potentially life-threatening. About 1 million people have died of COVID in the US alone.
But anyone, no matter the severity of their initial illness — even those who are young and healthy — can develop long COVID.
Long COVID is characterized by ongoing, persistent symptoms that happen after the initial infection. Symptoms can include fatigue, cognitive problems such as brain fog, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, as well as heart, lung, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
About 10% to 30% of people develop long COVID after an infection, including those who had only mild symptoms to begin with. One 2021 study found that more than half of people who tested positive for the coronavirus worldwide developed long COVID.
Experts don’t know exactly why some people experience persistent and often debilitating symptoms for weeks or months after initial infection. However, case after case shows long COVID could affect a wide variety of systems in the body, including the brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs.
If you have long COVID, we want to hear from you.
Were you relatively healthy before long COVID changed everything about the way you function and live? Are you now dealing with serious health issues brought on by long COVID? Does your baby, toddler, or child have ongoing, persistent health problems after a coronavirus infection?