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Former COVID-19 patient speaks on lingering effects of disease

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TUCSON (KVOA) - It feels like the coronavirus has been here for a long time, but in reality the first cases were reported in the U.S. less than six months ago.

According to doctors this is not enough time to understand what long term effects we can see from this virus.

Miriam Gifford was one of the first people in Arizona to get the coronavirus feeling symptoms back in March. 

As her symptoms got worse and spread to other parts of her body, doctors said she would have to be put on a ventilator.

"They were wonderful," Gifford said about the doctors. "I remember grabbing the doctor and I turned around and told him don't let me die."

Being put on a ventilator is not uncommon for those admitted to the hospital with coronavirus.

Dr. Steffano Mottl has been working with coronavirus patients in the ICU for a couple months. He said even with people who aren't intubated, lingering effects of the virus could last for weeks.

"People who have had worsening conditions and chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes," Mottl said. "Those are the people that have the symptoms for a more prolong time."

So far, doctors have found that consistent coughing, kidney problems and lung capacity last far longer than other symptoms.

Will Humble is the executive director for the Arizona Public Health Association and he says we have a long way to go to understand this virus.

"We can learn a little bit from that first SARS virus,"Humble said. "This is a different virus. We will learn more about it overtime until there's no promises anyone can make about long-term recovery"

Miriam is feeling better now. However, she still feels muscle weakness and shortness of breath even though she has been virus free for more than two months.

Daniel McFarland

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