SALT LAKE CITY — Almost seven percent of all Utahns either currently have or have had COVID-19, according to the state health department. The number is growing rapidly as the state continues to endure a spike in cases.
While more than 200 thousand Utahns have endured the virus, FOX 13 caught up with Dr. Hannah Imlay to talk about life after recovering from COVID-19. She is an Assistant Professor of Infectious Disease with the University of Utah.
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“One thing that I think is really, really, important to keep in mind is that we don’t know how durable that immunity is. So, we don’t know all the time if we develop immunity, for example. Most people seem to, which is good,” she said.
Since the very beginning of the pandemic, topic of immunity has been top of mind. Originally, there was thought and hope that people would only contract the virus once. Now, there have been cases of people getting sick with COVID-19 twice, but it is still rare, Dr. Imlay said.
“Because there is a lot of uncertainty is if each individual person is immune and what does that immunity actually mean, we still very strongly recommend that everybody should be wearing masks,” she said.
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People should continue to be careful, wear a mask, social distance and take proper precautions even after recovering from COVID-19. The first thing people should do is share their story, Dr. Imlay said. People who have been sick with COVID-19 should educate their friends and family, donate plasma and possibly look into any clinical trials.
Tanya is one of those people who has continued to share her story with others of her journey, even participating in a media campaign through the Salt Lake County Health Department. She is a COVID-19 Long Hauler.
“COVID gave me POTS, which is Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, and I also have mast cell activation syndrome and my doctors at the Mayo clinic also think I have chronic fatigue syndrome,” she said.
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Tanya contracted the virus back in April, and her life hasn’t been the same since.
“I was healthy before. I had no health problems. I’ve never had high cholesterol; I’ve never had high blood pressure. Healthy lungs, healthy heart and here I am disabled now,” she said.
Now, months later, she believes she has the virus again. Her daughter tested positive last week, as well as her husband, who tested positive for the second time.
“To get it again, I think I am still in shock because I don’t know anyone who has been more careful than we have been,” she said.
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The fear of what another battle with COVID-19 could do to her body is terrifying, she said. Right now, she is bedridden 2-3 days a week.
“When I started to get the sore throat, I broke down and just sobbed,” Tanya said.
Her COVID cough is back, as well as body aches and a sore throat. She has an appointment to get tested. While she said her symptoms are milder this time, her husband's seems to be more intense.
For more information on COVID-19 Long Haulers research and how to donate, CLICK HERE, or CLICK HERE for the latest information on COVID-19 in Utah.
(Editor's Note: Dr. Hannah Imlay did not treat Tanya and is providing broad scientific information on COVID-19.)