Black COVID-19 'long-haulers' struggle to get treatment 

Black patients suffering from long COVID-19 are experiencing difficulties getting treatment despite comprising the brunt of cases and hospitalizations, NBC News reported Aug. 28.

Chimére Smith, 40, of Baltimore, has been experiencing lingering symptoms since her bout with the virus in March 2020. "I would come in with notes of my symptoms and share these symptoms with these doctors and they would not hear me. They wouldn’t listen to me. They would treat me as if I was a child and I didn’t know my body," Ms. Smith told NBC.

In May 2021, Ms. Smith found the "BIPOC Women Long Covid ‘Long Hauler’ Support Group," a Facebook group, and has been better able to advocate for herself since. The group is one of many advocacy groups that have popped up for patients to find communities and support for their experiences during the pandemic.

Margot Gage Witvliet, PhD, a social epidemiologist and assistant professor at Beaumont, Texas-based Lamar University, founded the group Ms. Smith is in. She said researchers may not understand the barriers faced by women of color.

"We’re not honing in enough on how the social determinants of health are going to impact the recovery process — and that’s going to look different in different subgroups," Dr. Witvliet told NBC. "And I think that that’s like an elephant in the room that’s not being discussed."

 

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