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He lost his mom but survived the virus. Now ‘long COVID’ is wrecking him again

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More than a month after returning home from the coronavirus ward, 46-year-old Shlomi Tova is still sleeping with oxygen and battling “a tiredness you just can’t describe.”

He is one of a growing number of so-called long COVID cases — people who are certified negative and released from the hospital after improvement, but whose bodies react with a sort of medical aftershock.

Tova was a healthy working-from-home software engineer and hands-on dad to two kids until he caught the coronavirus, apparently from his mother, Miriam. They ended up in adjacent rooms at the Galilee Medical Center, but while he returned home, she died from the virus.

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Now, as Tova mourns his mother, he also struggles with the fact that though state statistics consider him “recovered,” that doesn’t mean he has actually shaken the illness. “I always sleep with an oxygen machine and the exhaustion during the day is indescribable,” he told The Times of Israel. Shlomi Tova’s mother Miriam with her grandchildren, in one of the last photos taken before she died of the coronavirus, aged 66. (Shlomi Tova)

“It’s hard to get up in the morning, and after an hour I just want to go to sleep again. Going upstairs is a challenge, and even taking something from the refrigerator is a big deal. I was always the cook in this house, but now my family has to do everything.”

Tova, an avid nature photographer who is one of the few patients to take high-quality photos inside a coronavirus facility, spoke in an interview of his ongoing illness, bereavement, and the crushing loneliness of isolation in a coronavirus ward where adults “cry like babies.”

Today Tova, whose great love is going into nature to photograph birds and other animals, rarely leaves his home in the Galilee city of Karmiel. One of his few trips was to the grave of his mother, whose funeral he couldn’t attend as he was still........

© The Times of Israel

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