It started for Melanie Montano with a tightness in her chest, almost like someone was sitting on top of her. It was March 15, and she was sweating but freezing cold. And she had a strange “pins-and-needles” sensation on the back of her legs.
“It was as if I woke up in a totally different body,” she recalled.
Over the following weeks, Montano, 32, developed a fever, cough, stomach problems, and lost her sense of taste and smell like other sufferers of the novel coronavirus. Unlike most of them, though, her symptoms never went away. They kept coming and going in waves like a roller coaster that has kept her bed-bound for 78 days straight – through school shutdowns, shelter-in-place orders, protests over those restrictions, and now, state reopenings.
Juana Diaz, 62, from Washington, D.C., has had symptoms since April 3. They started with a headache and scratchy throat. She wasn’t concerned, she said, although “I never have headaches.” The following day, she lost her sense of taste and smell and immediately knew what was happening.
Cara Schiavo, a 31-year-old social worker from Cedar Grove, N.J., came down with something that looked like pinkeye on March 15, and then wound up in the emergency room when she developed a fever and other symptoms. Since then, “I haven’t had a day when I’ve been back to normal.”