Brookline woman part of a new COVID-19 long haulers recovery program

BROOKLINE, Mass. — COVID-19 survivors can have symptoms that linger for months. For many, their condition is debilitating and some worry they may never recover. But there is hope thanks to a new and unique program.

Jenny Berz walks gingerly on her treadmill as she gets her life back.

“Now I’m walking 20 minutes on a slow treadmill everyday, which is unbelievable,” she said.

The Brookline woman is a wife, mother and also a so-called COVID-19 long hauler. That’s someone who suffers through COVID-19 symptoms months after their initial diagnosis.

“Since March, a four- to five-minute walk would send me to bed for a couple of days. I just couldn’t tolerate it,” Berz said.

The 50-year-old clinical psychologist was diagnosed with the coronavirus in March after returning from a trip to Hawaii. Her husband tested positive a week later and their kids also had symptoms. They recovered, but Jenny did not.

A month ago, Jenny enrolled in a free online rehab and recovery program called COVID Bootcamp 101.

“The people we’re seeing as long haulers are people in their 20′s, 30′s, 40′s and 50′s. These are people who were never sick before with no preexisting conditions,” said Dr. Noah Greenspan.

The program was originally designed for patients older than 70 by Dr. Greenspan, a New York City cardiopulmonary physical therapist.

Patients start the 42-day bootcamp by walking for four minutes in two-minute intervals, increasing one minute each day.

“I was anticipating a life going forward in which I would need a wheelchair anytime going more than a couple of minutes,” Berz said.

Jenny said she is making a lot of progress, one day at a time. There are about 1,000 long haulers from all around the world enrolled in the virtual COVID bootcamp.

For more information on COVID Bootcamp 101, click here.