Illinois Takes Steps to Help Long Distance COVID Vehicles | lifestyle


CHICAGO – Blair Rohrbach, 37, from Pilsen, laughs a little when she tells her story.

She was diagnosed with liver disease at age 16, had a liver transplant in August 2019, and was finally comfortable enough in her recovery to leave her mother’s house. She had normality at home for two weeks, then the coronavirus lockdown began in March 2020.

“It’s funny that I basically went from one quarantine to another – basically quarantined after surgery, I was like ‘freedom!’ And then two weeks later it was lockdown.”

And then last September she tested positive for COVID-19 and has had symptoms ever since – fatigue, brain fog, migraines that last for days.

“It was quite frustrating not to feel like my mental abilities were what they were before I got COVID because right before COVID I finally felt a lot better after this life-changing surgery,” she said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to train and do all these things,’ and then I got hit by COVID. I’m incredibly lucky that I didn’t have to go to the hospital or have any breathing problems. I am grateful that I never lost my sense of taste or smell. But the other symptoms never really seem to go away. Even after doing several tests to make sure I was still negative. “

Rohrbach has long had COVID-19, a set of symptoms that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, may last weeks or months after being first infected with COVID-19, or appear weeks after being infected.

It can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19.

It is estimated that 10 to 30% of people who get COVID-19 will develop COVID-19 for a long time, according to Dr. Jerry Krishnan, University of Illinois Chicago Vice Chancellor of Population Health Sciences and Professor of Medicine and Public Health.

“The CDC estimates that approximately 33 million Americans tested positive for COVID-19, which means 3 to 10 million Americans are likely to have, or have had, COVID-19,” Krishnan said.

National and local initiatives are being formed to understand and treat patients with this condition.

In December, Congress donated $ 1.15 billion over four years to the National Institutes of Health to aid research into the ongoing health effects of COVID-19. The initiative called RECOVER or Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery is intended to find out whether differences in the long-term COVID-19 risk can be traced back to different virus variants, the host reaction (ability to fight the virus infection and cure it after the infection has subsided) and the social Determinants of health.

UIC was selected to lead an Illinois-based team for the US RECOVER consortium. Krishnan is part of the team leading the effort to bring together health centers, community-based organizations, and religious organizations in Chicago, Peoria, Rockford, and Urbana to create a network of state resources for a directory that includes people with long-term COVID-19.

“We need to rethink where to look after these people,” said Krishnan. “The other point is that we have to be careful because we don’t yet know what to do for these people.”

The symptoms of long-term COVID-19 vary widely – some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, difficulty breathing, difficulty concentrating, body or muscle pain, taste or smell problems, trouble sleeping, anxiety or depression, dizziness and weakness – and the risk of becoming a long-distance runner , increases with the severity of the disease after infection, Krishnan says that vaccination is highly recommended.

The RECOVER study is looking at a similar disease that children experience after being infected with COVID-19 to see if it is related to the long-term COVID-19 in adults.

There is no test for long COVID-19, said Krishnan. Serological tests, which are used to look for antibodies in the blood, are the best measure of diagnosis, he said. It is necessary to find a doctor who knows about tests and best practices from current data to avoid confusion with other health conditions, he said. Long COVID-19 has already been compared to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS). Both diseases have the symptom “brain fog”.

“The entire ME / CFS community is saying, ‘This could be a chance for us to really get some answers to our problem as it is relatively rare and not enough resources have been devoted to it,'” said Krishnan. “Now that you have this common condition that affects 30 million Americans. And let’s say 10 to 20 percent are affected, that’s millions of people in this country, that’s no longer uncommon. “

Rohrbach said she was ready to participate in studies looking at long-term COVID-19. She is still disabled but is looking for a customer service job that she can do at home.

“I’m scared of going back to work because my immune system is compromised,” she said. “I don’t know how effective the vaccine is, even though I am fully vaccinated. I still wear my mask everywhere and I’ve been told (by my doctors), ‘We don’t know enough to really do anything for you right now.’ You just have to roll with the blows as they come. “

People with long-standing COVID-19 suffered, Krishnan said. “The NIH, doctors, nurses, and researchers are trying to understand what long-term COVID is, why some people get it, and how it can be prevented or treated. We need public help to solve this puzzle. Together we can solve this problem faster. “

To participate in the RECOVER study without a referral from a doctor, contact [email protected].