Child psychiatrist Scott Krakower tested positive for COVID-19 back in mid-April, but three months on there are still days he feels overwhelmingly tired, short of breath, and unable to speak because of a hoarse throat. The 40-year-old New Yorker is among a wave of patients being referred to as “long-haulers,” whose recovery period extends far beyond the two or so weeks that are the average length of the illness. He told AFP there are days he encounters “self-skepticism,” wondering if the symptoms he’s going through are real and he should be back at work — until, for example, he takes a walk and his parents or wife who are on the phone with him notice he’s gasping. This phenomenon is attributed to a mysterious post-viral illness that is still poorly understood — but increasingly reported by patients, who are sharing their experiences online in forums like the Long Covid Support Group on Facebook with more than 5,000 members. “Just when I think I’m on a roll and have like three or four good days, I’ll have about three or four hours where again I can’t speak or my lymph node starts swelling on the right side of my neck,” Krakower said in a video interview from his home in Long Island. Krakower was working as the unit chief of the psychiatry department of Zucker Hillside Hospital during New York’s coronavirus epidemic, which is where he suspects he became infected. First came the loss of smell and taste, where “everything tasted like rubber,” then a troubling cough that prevented him from teleworking, before he started losing his voice entirely. Around three-and-a-half weeks in, alongside a high fever and chills, he began coughing so violently blood came out. He lost the ability to swallow and his voice became high-pitched. That’s when he wound up an emergency room, where physician Robert Glatter treated his laryngitis with the steroid dexamethasone to reduce the swelling.