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Italians report coronavirus disease recovery can take months

Italians report coronavirus disease recovery can take months
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Recovery from the coronavirus can take months, Italian COVID-19 survivors say, as the nation starts to lift the strict restrictions put in place at the peak of the outbreak. 

Symptoms including fevers, fatigue and shortness of breath can linger for months even after people test negative for the coronavirus, according to Italian patients and doctors who spoke to The New York Times

“We have seen many cases in which people take a long, long time to recover,” Alessandro Venturi, the director of the San Matteo hospital in the Lombardy town of Pavia, told the Times. 

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“It’s not the sickness that lasts for 60 days, it is the convalescence,” he added. “It’s a very long convalescence.”

Venturi told the Times the discomfort seems to last even longer for people with lighter symptoms. 

Morena Colombi, who lives in Truccazzano outside of Milan, tested negative for COVID-19 on March 16 and was counted in tallies of Italian COVID-19 recoveries, the Times reports.

But Colombi said she still experienced shortness of breath and muscle pains five weeks later on April 21 when she went back to her job developing colors for a cosmetics company, according to the Times. 

Colombi told the times that even 11 weeks after she tested positive she is still not back to normal. 

“It takes a long time,” she told the newspaper. “I can’t get back into my natural rhythms.”

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Martina Sorlini, a 29-year-old high school teacher, told the Times she has been running a low-grade fever since the beginning of March. 

She said her cough and sore throat eventually went away, and she said her sense of taste and smell came back after three weeks. But then she had stomach aches, fatigue and her fever returned. 

“It never finishes,” Sorlini said 

Dr. Annalisa Malara, an intensive care physician who diagnosed Italy's first case of the outbreak in February, told the Times it's still not clear why the virus and its effects linger for so long. 

She told the Times that a “lack of energy” and “the sensation of broken bones” are common, and said fatigue often lingered “even after the more intense symptoms are gone.” 

Italy is one of the hardest hit nations by the coronavirus. The country has reported a total of 219,814 COVID-19 cases and 30,739 deaths, as well as 105,186 recoveries, based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.