Adriana Vaughan tested positive forin October 2021. Eight months later, the 12-year-old has a string of new medical issues: fatigue, headaches, stomach problems and more.
Vaughan can’t even walk for six minutes without losing her breath. She says swimming, which she did before getting COVID, is also hard.
“I do really love the water and swimming. I tried to do it a few days ago, it was really a lot for me,” Vaughan told CBS News.
At first doctors in her Virginia hometown weren’t sure what to make of her symptoms.
“They didn’t know what long-haul COVID was and they kept saying it was anxiety. But my mom knew I didn’t have anxiety,” she said.
Vaughan is one of more than 70 kids being treated in the long COVID clinic at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. Dr. Alexandra Yonts, an infectious disease specialist who runs the clinic, said fatigue is the top complaint among patients young and old.
“Kids tend to have less respiratory complaints and more gastrointestinal symptoms,” she said of how their symptoms are different than adults.
More than 13 million children have tested positive for COVID since the pandemic began, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Studies have found a wide range in the number who suffer from long COVID, but Yonts estimates it could be as high as 10%. Children’s National Hospital is conducting a three-year study to learn more about the long-term effects.
After getting COVID in December 2020, Erin Peace lost 15 pounds and all of her energy. The 16-year-old stopped singing and seeing her friends and had to go to virtual home school.
“I was just laying in bed all day,” Peace told CBS News.
But she’s slowly getting better, saying she feels like a six on a scale of one to 10. She resumed singing lessons this week.
“I’ve definitely improved a lot,” she said.
It’s what Vaughan is counting on too.
“I have hope every day,” Vaughan said.