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Long-term COVID: ‘Will I ever get back to the way I was?’

Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 6:45 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The CDC released new data that shows nearly 60 percent of adults and 75 percent of kids have antibodies showing they’ve been infected with COVID.

Months ago, local health experts expressed concern over the questions surrounding long-haul COVID symptoms.

Here’s the story of one patient, still fighting a long battle against COVID, navigating the impacts along with her health care professionals.

“It’s hard, but I’m here, I’m here,” said Michelle Noble.

Noble tested positive on Aug. 27, 2021. She got infected after the first dose of her vaccine. A few days later, she was taken to Doctor’s Hospital. She was given monoclonal antibody treatment and spent a week in the hospital Until she moved to the ICU.

“I thought I just went to sleep just for a little while. I didn’t know. I had found out from my husband that I had been in the hospital for about almost a month,” she said.

Intubated, sedated, and eventually transferred for more care.

“They told me that three other people came with me and those three people died. I was the only one that made it. The nurse that treated me told me when she first saw me, she didn’t think I’d make it through the night,” said Noble.

It’s something she never wants to put her family through or experience again. But now, she’s dealing with the long-term effects every day.

“When I first got home from the hospital, I couldn’t do anything. My husband he had to bathe me, he had to do everything,” she said

Noble had to learn to walk again. Her lungs shrank from severe scar tissue that blocks air from traveling from one to the other, suffers from brain fog, dizziness, fatigue, and hair loss.

“My brush was like filled with hair. The more I did it, the more it came out. It’s the craziest thing,” she said.

And the worst part is she doesn’t know when she’ll get better.

“Will I ever get back to the way I was before? He told me you’ll never be 100 percent. You’ll probably get back to 75 to 80 percent,” she said.

She says no matter what, she won’t stop trying.

We asked our local health officials if Noble had been able to get her second shot if it would have made a difference for her long-haul COVID symptoms. They say it’s hard because there isn’t one agreed-upon definition of long COVID. They say, about 1 in 8 people have some symptoms of long COVID.

Dr. Rodger MacArthur, Professor of Medicine in Division of Infectious Diseases at AU said: “The vaccines are 85-90% effective at reducing the risk for preventing severe disease, but they seem to be only about 50-60% effective against these newer variants or subvariants. That seems to be about the same effectiveness as they are preventing.

The CDC says you have the best protection against variants like omicron if you get boosted. People 50 and older, and people 12 and older at high risk, can get a second booster shot.

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