Long Covid may be ‘the next public health disaster’ — with a $3.7 trillion economic impact rivaling the Great Recession

That can make some physicians unwilling to entertain long Covid as a reason for health complications.

“There are a lot of physicians or care providers who are reluctant to apply a label they see as defined as everything but the kitchen sink,” said Diana Güthe, founder of Survivor Corps, referring to the litany of symptoms. Survivor Corps is a grassroots Covid advocacy group with about 250,000 members; Güthe herself had and recovered from long Covid.

Donna Pohl, 56, met with a neuromuscular specialist in mid-November to help treat nerve damage that resulted from long Covid. The visit didn’t go well.

“[The specialist] said, ‘Everyone wants to blame Covid,'” said Pohl, who lives in Bettendorf, Iowa, and was diagnosed with long Covid last December. “We are sick, not stupid or crazy.”

People — including family and friends — often write off symptoms as “byproducts of anxiety and depression, or even worse, laziness and an excuse not to work,” the HHS report said.

Neurologists would see Norpel twitch and instead focus just on her migraines, she recalled. One told her to stop reading literature on long Covid when she mentioned the disease during an appointment. “It was like Dr. ‘Mansplaining,'” she said.

She eventually had a consultation in August at the Mayo Clinic, where she was told: “We believe you — you have long Covid.”

“I started crying when the doctors spoke to me,” Norpel said.