Now the stories of “long-haulers” have become a central component of how scientists, doctors and policymakers view long-term effects of the coronavirus.
As a current article in the journal Social Science & Medicine explains, researchers are scrambling to keep up with what patients report in online support groups such as Ms. Watson’s. Co-author Elisa Perego, a research associate at University College London, is a long-hauler herself, and dubbed the post-viral condition “long Covid” on Twitter in May. Both “long-haulers” and “long Covid” are fast becoming standard terminology in the medical field.
Kate Porter, a digital marketer from Beverly, Mass., and an administrator for Ms. Watson’s group, has watched as the “long-hauler” term has exploded in popularity. Ms. Porter, who tracks the latest research and policy initiatives on the Covid-19 Recovery Awareness website, told me, “Even if it’s not necessarily the most scientific term, you get the gist right away—you don’t even need to really explain it.”