KEY POINTS

  • Chelsea Alionar, 37, has no pre-existing health condition but she has been sick with COVID-19 since March 9
  • Her two coronavirus tests in May were negative but she woke up one morning with severe fatigue
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said a significant number of COVID-19 patients suffer long-term effects of the disease

A 37-year-old woman from Oregon has yet to recover from COVID-19, more than four months since she contracted the virus. Her case illuminates the long-term effects of the disease, which has recorded more than 12.3 million confirmed cases around the world so far.

Chelsea Alionar has been sick with COVID-19 since March 9, showing symptoms like low-grade fever and headache. She told CNN that her life has come to a standstill since then.

It took Alionar at least a month to get tested for the coronavirus and by then, she has experienced more symptoms, such as breathing difficulties, dryness in the mouth, hearing loss, rapid heart rate and insomnia. She also suffered from what has now become an increasingly common COVID-19 symptom: Damage to the brain.

"I thought I had gotten over the worst of it," Alionar shared. "I had gotten to 120 days thinking I can go back to work and work from home and I was thinking the whole time the whole goal is to stay out of the hospital unless the situation is really dire."

In May, Alionar, who has no pre-existing condition, took two more coronavirus tests, which were both negative. She felt her symptoms disappear for about a week. But then she woke up one morning and developed a fever and severe fatigue as if she "got hit by a truck". The patient said her coronavirus symptoms "come and go".

"I get these feelings, like surges of adrenaline, inside my body and it just courses," the woman said in an interview with KGW8. “It's an hour by hour virus."

sick-COVID There is evidence that some COVID-19 patients suffer long-term health symptoms. Photo: Pexels

Speaking in a news conference with the International AIDS Society Thursday, July 9, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci said there is evidence of COVID-19 patients with long-term fatigue syndrome.

"If you look anecdotally, there is no question that there are a considerable number of individuals who have a post-viral syndrome that in many respects incapacitates them for weeks and weeks following so-called recovery," Fauci said, per CNN. "There are chat groups that you just click on and see people who recovered that really do not get back to normal."

Alionar is a member of the Oregon-based Long Haul COVID Fighters, one of these chat groups. She said that being part of it has helped her find comfort, as well as more information about the disease.