Millions of Americans have tested positive for COVID-19. The illness has a range of clinical symptoms with varying degrees of symptom severity; there is limited research about the lived experience of having COVID-19.
The study aim was to understand the lived experience of having COVID-19, provide detail on the length and severity of symptoms as well as coping mechanisms of those with the illness, and identify issues individuals face when accessing healthcare.
This phenomenological qualitative study included semistructured interviews of 45 people ages 18 years and older living in the United States who tested positive for COVID-19. Inductive content analysis was employed for subjective interpretation of the text through a systematic coding classification to identify themes for analysis and conclusions.
This study details a variety of symptom presentations of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 as well as mental health concerns related to fear and living with COVID-19.
Individuals expressed varying emotions when finding they tested positive for COVID-19. Many conveyed fear of having COVID-19 and indicated it was a traumatic experience. This fear is an important clinical finding that policymakers and providers should consider when treating acute and chronic COVID-19 patients. Finally, many participants, commonly referred to as “long haulers,” experienced ongoing and lingering symptoms highlighting an area in need of further research.