CORONAVIRUS: STRONGER TOGETHER

Salt Lake City Research Center To Study COVID-19 Long Haulers

Feb 25, 2021, 7:23 PM | Updated: 8:59 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Medical organizations from across the country, including a research group in Salt Lake City, announced a joint effort to push for more research and federal dollars to help COVID-19 long haulers.

The goal is to figure out why some people suffer from side effects for months after they recovered from the virus.

New data suggested that as many as 30% of people who get COVID-19 could continue to suffer the effects for up to nine months after.

For long hauler Tisha Kirth in Salt Lake City, any sign of help has brought a whole lot of hope.

“I was sick for 36 days — very, very sick. It was very awful,” she said.

Kirth spent about three days in the hospital and said her oxygen levels were low, even on a good day. All of this happened despite the fact that she had every expectation that she would simply bounce back.

“From going to be a very healthy person, very active, nothing slows me down — my husband and I have a very active life — to not knowing from day-to-day how I’m going to feel,” she said.

She tested positive for the virus back in July and still deals with the effects.

“Brain fog comes back, body aches, pretty much all the symptoms that I had when I had COVID come back,” she described.

Long Hauler Tisha Kirth was hospitalized with COVID-19 in July. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV) Dr. Brayden Yellman with the Bateman Horne Center. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV.)

Now there is hope for long haulers like her. The Bateman Horne Center in Salt Lake City is one of 50 organizations nationwide, including the Utah COVID-19 Long Haulers, that are advocating for long haulers and pushing for more research.

“What we really hope to do in the community is bring awareness to these illnesses,” said Dr. Brayden Yellman with the Bateman Horne Center. “These are very silent illnesses. People are left disabled and at home and they’re sort of unheard, unnoticed voices.”

The center has already studied chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia that can, in a similar way, come on after a viral infection.

Kirth was encouraged by the fact that people like her could soon get more help.

“I have hope. I have hope now,” she said. “They’re putting the research into it and hopefully, find a cure so we can get our lives back.”

Doctors at the Bateman Horne Center said this new alliance could help push for funding from the National Institutes of Health for further research.

Some of the current findings are available on their website.

If you are struggling with lingering COVID-19 symptoms, you can find support on the Utah COVID-19 Long Haulers Facebook page.

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Salt Lake City Research Center To Study COVID-19 Long Haulers