‘This is how life is now’: Long haulers still experiencing the effects of COVID two years on

The most common symptoms for COVID-19 long-haulers include brain fog and heart, lung and sleeping problems.

(Ivana Martinez | KUER) Tyson Plastow of Layton is dealing with long-term side effects from the coronavirus, like difficulty breathing and chronic pain.

Two years ago in early March, Tyson Plastow contracted COVID-19 for the first time — just as the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic.

In the months that followed, he constantly woke up at night gasping, desperate to fill his lungs with air.

“I just couldn’t breathe,” he said. “I was coughing all the time. I hurt all over. I was having trouble thinking straight.”

These symptoms — now associated with “long-haul COVID” — were not well understood at the time. Today, Utah has two health clinics that serve these patient populations.

But back then, Plastow searched for medical help to ease his breathing and help the pain. He said he went to a pulmonologist who confirmed through a CT scan there was scarring on his lungs from the virus. It confirmed his suspicions about lingering side effects.

A few months later in December of 2020, he got COVID again. Plastow said he felt like he was slowly dying. He recalled feeling the scarring in his lungs from the first round of COVID each time he tried to breathe. Plastow drove himself to the emergency room where he said he was diagnosed with pneumonia and given oxygen.

Now, two years later, he said he’s not the same man anymore.

To read more about Tyson Plastow and other COVID-19 long-haulers, visit KUER.org.

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aim to inform readers across the state.