Most people recover from COVID-19 within two weeks. Yet some do not. For some, about 10% according to recent estimates, long-term health issues like extreme fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, joint pain, anxiety and heart palpitations remain for weeks or even longer - disrupting lives.

And yet many long haulers often struggle to receive medical care for these symptoms - with treatments remaining unclear. “Patients often go from specialist to specialist with negative test results and still their symptoms persist,” explains Cristina Martinez, an Advanced Practice Nurse with the COVID Recovery Clinic at Hackensack Meridian Health. “That lack of validation can leave them feeling unheard, alone, as if they’re making it all up, which we know they are not.”

As a result, Hackensack Meridian Health is now hosting a support group for long haulers to  meet virtually, twice a month, so patients with lingering symptoms know they are not alone. 

“We don’t want patients to feel dismissed or suffer in silence,” says Martinez. “The long haul support group provides an opportunity for them to share personal experiences, feelings, and coping strategies in a secure setting overseen by our medical professionals.”