Photos: Portraits of people caught in the long fog of Covid-19

  • A recent survey by the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG) - which interviewed 2,120 people of whom 1,834 had symptoms compatible with the disease - found the typical profile of a post-Covid syndrome patient was a 43-year-old woman with 36 symptoms on average. While severe Covid-19 infections are more frequent in men, long-haul Covid-19 seems to affect women more - they accounted for around 80% of the cases in the SEMG study. Eight women, and two men, spoke to Reuters about their experience of long-Covid, and sat with a photographer for portraits shot through a "fog" of blue plastic to visualise how the condition made them feel.
Published on Apr 16, 2021 03:31 PM IST 10 Photos
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Susana Matarranz, a 44-year-old primary school teacher, and a blank blackboard at her home in Madrid, Spain on March 8. She got infected on March 1, 2020. At first, there was the loss of smell and taste, but soon afterwards came severe stomach problems and acute joint pain. "My right collar bone is swollen, I can barely lift my arm, I feel like I have aged prematurely," Matarranz said. She returned to work in September, but got infected a second time in November and hasn't been able to teach since.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Susana Matarranz, a 44-year-old primary school teacher, and a blank blackboard at her home in Madrid, Spain on March 8. She got infected on March 1, 2020. At first, there was the loss of smell and taste, but soon afterwards came severe stomach problems and acute joint pain. "My right collar bone is swollen, I can barely lift my arm, I feel like I have aged prematurely," Matarranz said. She returned to work in September, but got infected a second time in November and hasn't been able to teach since.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Published on Apr 16, 2021 03:31 PM IST
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Kemp, a 51-year-old script translator from Britain who has been living in Spain for almost 30 years, and a park bench near her house in Madrid on March 3. Kemp said Covid-19 affected her ability to communicate in Spanish and she stopped watching complex TV shows because she could not follow the plot. "I lack (mental) agility, I feel like I'm communicating through a crystal glass," she said. Kemp had to give up dancing, swimming and her daily long walks due to the permanent fatigue she experiences.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Kemp, a 51-year-old script translator from Britain who has been living in Spain for almost 30 years, and a park bench near her house in Madrid on March 3. Kemp said Covid-19 affected her ability to communicate in Spanish and she stopped watching complex TV shows because she could not follow the plot. "I lack (mental) agility, I feel like I'm communicating through a crystal glass," she said. Kemp had to give up dancing, swimming and her daily long walks due to the permanent fatigue she experiences.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Published on Apr 16, 2021 03:31 PM IST
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Jorge Martin, 44, the head of a higher-education association, and rehabilitation tools photographed in Ansoain, Spain on March 17. Martin has been off work for more than a year due to Covid-19 and has been battling with cognitive difficulties and physical problems. "I forget the names of family members, even my own license plate. The other day, I was trying to write something down and I realised I was writing again what I had written two days before. My job is intellectual, what's going to happen if this gets worse?"(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Jorge Martin, 44, the head of a higher-education association, and rehabilitation tools photographed in Ansoain, Spain on March 17. Martin has been off work for more than a year due to Covid-19 and has been battling with cognitive difficulties and physical problems. "I forget the names of family members, even my own license plate. The other day, I was trying to write something down and I realised I was writing again what I had written two days before. My job is intellectual, what's going to happen if this gets worse?"(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

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Teresa Dominguez, 55, a social worker specialising in disabilities, and her diary in Collado Villalba, Spain on March 4. Dominguez had only missed work when she gave birth to her children. The "mental mist", as she describes her inability to concentrate, and permanent fatigue after performing the simplest of everyday tasks have constrained her life for the past year, since her March 2020 coronavirus infection.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Teresa Dominguez, 55, a social worker specialising in disabilities, and her diary in Collado Villalba, Spain on March 4. Dominguez had only missed work when she gave birth to her children. The "mental mist", as she describes her inability to concentrate, and permanent fatigue after performing the simplest of everyday tasks have constrained her life for the past year, since her March 2020 coronavirus infection.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

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Beatriz Perez, a 51-year-old computer engineer, and the staircase leading to her flat in Fuenlabrada, Spain on March 4. Perez used to go trekking on weekends, but now is rarely able to complete her personal challenge of walking all the way down the stairs from her eighth-floor apartment. "One day I tried to at least go down the stairs and I don't even think I made it two floors down, I was in so much pain. I felt so disappointed. Am I ever going to be able to live a normal life again?" she said.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Beatriz Perez, a 51-year-old computer engineer, and the staircase leading to her flat in Fuenlabrada, Spain on March 4. Perez used to go trekking on weekends, but now is rarely able to complete her personal challenge of walking all the way down the stairs from her eighth-floor apartment. "One day I tried to at least go down the stairs and I don't even think I made it two floors down, I was in so much pain. I felt so disappointed. Am I ever going to be able to live a normal life again?" she said.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

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Shalini Arias, a 23-year-old anthropologist, and her tattoo photographed in Madrid on March 5. As some doctors shrugged off her symptoms, Arias resorted to leaning on her support network. "They don't judge me, and they have helped me learn to live with this the best possible way I can," she said. Arias got a friend to design a tattoo for her to remind herself of the importance of her network of family, friends and colleagues.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Shalini Arias, a 23-year-old anthropologist, and her tattoo photographed in Madrid on March 5. As some doctors shrugged off her symptoms, Arias resorted to leaning on her support network. "They don't judge me, and they have helped me learn to live with this the best possible way I can," she said. Arias got a friend to design a tattoo for her to remind herself of the importance of her network of family, friends and colleagues.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

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Pedro Sanchez-Vicente, a 56-year-old event organiser, and the armchair where Sanchez-Vicente spends most of his time, in Madrid on March 17. Sanchez-Vicente spent 100 days intubated in an ICU unit after getting infected in March 2020. But after his release from the hospital he started developing many of the symptoms associated with long Covid. "I'm not your typical long Covid case, because most of those patients haven't been hospitalised or not for too long, unlike me. But I share with them the mental mist, the paresthesia, the hearing problems, conjunctivitis, eye herpes. You could say I'm a hybrid," he said.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Pedro Sanchez-Vicente, a 56-year-old event organiser, and the armchair where Sanchez-Vicente spends most of his time, in Madrid on March 17. Sanchez-Vicente spent 100 days intubated in an ICU unit after getting infected in March 2020. But after his release from the hospital he started developing many of the symptoms associated with long Covid. "I'm not your typical long Covid case, because most of those patients haven't been hospitalised or not for too long, unlike me. But I share with them the mental mist, the paresthesia, the hearing problems, conjunctivitis, eye herpes. You could say I'm a hybrid," he said.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Published on Apr 16, 2021 03:31 PM IST
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Amaia Artica, 42, and a thermometer belonging to her, in Pamplona, Spain on March 16. Permanent fatigue, daily fever, muscle and joint pain, insomnia and constant mental lapses have kept Artica from doing the job she loves at a nursery school since she got infected with coronavirus during the first wave of the disease. Her brain fogginess is so acute that there are days she finds herself staring at a blank wall, feeling "out of it". Loss for words, inability to remember how to do simple tasks and overall forgetfulness have become part of her life.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Amaia Artica, 42, and a thermometer belonging to her, in Pamplona, Spain on March 16. Permanent fatigue, daily fever, muscle and joint pain, insomnia and constant mental lapses have kept Artica from doing the job she loves at a nursery school since she got infected with coronavirus during the first wave of the disease. Her brain fogginess is so acute that there are days she finds herself staring at a blank wall, feeling "out of it". Loss for words, inability to remember how to do simple tasks and overall forgetfulness have become part of her life.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

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Maria Eugenia Diez, a 43-year-old ICU nurse, and her home pool in Chiloeches, Spain on March 9. Year-long symptoms have made Diez give up exercise and forego medical congresses where she has trouble concentrating. "The first time I tried to take a swim in my pool, thinking that the water would help me improve my symptoms, it was very distressing. I started feeling out of breath the more I was submerging in the water. I had to sit on the steps and let the water surround me no higher than my waist to regain my breath," she said.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Maria Eugenia Diez, a 43-year-old ICU nurse, and her home pool in Chiloeches, Spain on March 9. Year-long symptoms have made Diez give up exercise and forego medical congresses where she has trouble concentrating. "The first time I tried to take a swim in my pool, thinking that the water would help me improve my symptoms, it was very distressing. I started feeling out of breath the more I was submerging in the water. I had to sit on the steps and let the water surround me no higher than my waist to regain my breath," she said.(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

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Nuria Sepulveda, a 44-year-old self-employed worker who co-owns a courier franchise, and a wheel of her bicycle, in Madrid, Spain on April 9. Sepulveda got sick on March 12, 2020 and she had to visit the emergency room on several occasions for symptoms that ended up being diagnosed as double pneumonia, bowel bleeding and urine infection among others. She tried to return to work in November, but the fatigue was so overwhelming that "3 hours of work felt like a 12-hour work day."(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Nuria Sepulveda, a 44-year-old self-employed worker who co-owns a courier franchise, and a wheel of her bicycle, in Madrid, Spain on April 9. Sepulveda got sick on March 12, 2020 and she had to visit the emergency room on several occasions for symptoms that ended up being diagnosed as double pneumonia, bowel bleeding and urine infection among others. She tried to return to work in November, but the fatigue was so overwhelming that "3 hours of work felt like a 12-hour work day."(Susana Vera / REUTERS)

Published on Apr 16, 2021 03:31 PM IST
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