“On Mondays I’m ready to go, I’m feeling great, and then by Wednesday I’m definitely depleted,” said one elementary school teacher.
More than 60% of Americans have been infected wit COVID-19, according to a new survey. And while long COVID is something nobody wants, it’s been effecting educators more than most other groups.
Education Week reports that 1 in 5 educators have been infected, including principals, teachers, and district leaders. It’s estimated that educators account for about 6 million people in the U.S., suggesting that thousands of them have been afflicted with long COVID-19.
Statistics on long COVID-19 are murky, with experts estimating that 20% to 50% of people who experienced COVID-19 are now dealing with a long-term effect. These include fatigue, memory problems, brain fog, loss of taste or smell, heart and lung conditions, and more.
EW interviewed a variety of educators regarding their symptoms, which range from mild to severe. “On Mondays I’m ready to go, I’m feeling great, and then by Wednesday I’m definitely depleted,” said Kathleen Law, a 42-year-old elementary school teacher who contracted COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated. While she believes she will make a full recovery, it’s been months of experiencing these symptoms.
When discussing the condition itself, educators expressed feeling lonely and depressed, especially since long COVID-19 is such a mysterious disease, one that many people and even doctors have trouble believing. Ruthanne Grajeda, who teaches kids in Wyoming, was interned in the ICU after experiencing COVID-19 in September. Months later, she still has trouble breathing and has to carry an oxygen tank when leaving her house. “They think you should be ready and back, and it’s not like that,” she said of people’s expectations.
Buzzfeed News reports that many physicians are mistrustful of their patients, not believing their COVID-19 symptoms since there’s not a clear understanding of how the disease works and progresses. “I get that doctors are busy and drained from dealing with the pandemic for over two years,” said Lauren Scungio. “But many of the doctors I’ve seen don’t seem to be keeping up with the latest long COVID research.”
Despite the mystery that surrounds the new illness, there are researchers out there looking for ways to understand it. A new study found that people who develop long COVID-19 are likely to have lower levels of certain antibodies in their blood. They hope to develop a test with the data, preventing future long COVID-19 cases and informing those that are at higher risk of developing it.