The Long Haul: Solving the Puzzle of the Pandemic’s Long Haulers and How They Are Changing Healthcare Forever


Silver Award Winner in “Rising To The Moment Focused Topic: COVID Pandemic” Category of the Nautilus Awards

As the global Covid-19 pandemic leaves millions with long-term disabling conditions, the survivors fight for recognition and research, which could ultimately help transform care for many overlooked diseases.

To the world’s public health authorities, Covid-19 would either be a deadly disease for some, or it would be a simple respiratory illness for most—cleared up in a couple of weeks.

But then tens of millions around the world got sick and stayed sick. With scientists and doctors caught off guard, these patients often found solace only in themselves, organizing support groups across continents while ill in bed. An innovative band of patients researched the disease themselves, flipping the script and illustrating a new paradigm for research. In these unprecedented times, the CDC and the WHO came to them.

Covid “long haulers” found their new illness wasn’t so new. It resembled a number of post-viral syndromes, hard to treat and neglected by science for decades. CNN journalist Ryan Prior weaves in his own life, the stories of activist patients, and the latest science into a captivating tale of regular people crying out for care that actually works. The stakes are high: As Covid continues to circulate, its long-term effects could grow as well, weighing on the health system for decades to come. But getting Long Covid treatments right could help revolutionize care for all complex, chronic illness.

“Ryan Prior brings out the heart of the story simply because he puts his whole self into telling it empathetically and with utmost compassion. Matched with his passion for curiosity, it makes for a story not only worth telling, but worth reading with insatiable interest.” —Stephanie Land, New York Times bestselling author of Maid, one of President Obama’s top picks of 2019 and now a Netflix original series
“Ryan Prior’s years of both living with and reporting on chronic disease for major publications makes him ideally suited to write a book about Long Covid. Because he has led the field by helping author principles guiding other science writers in covering contested diseases, he can cover this topic with all the scientific nuance, literary poise, and human empathy it requires. His book could be an example in future decades of how to cover the new epidemics we will undoubtedly see.” —Pam Weintraub, author of Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic

“As a CNN features writer, Ryan has shown a keen nose for compelling human stories and the reporting chops to deliver.” —Brian Vastag, former science reporter for The Washington Post 

“Ryan Prior’s passion, to both get the story right and bring it alive using amazing storytelling skills, makes his work incredibly important and engaging. His experience living with chronic illness, and his years of writing about it, will all combine to make his book on Long Covid an essential read.” —Tracie White, author of The Puzzle Solver: A Scientist’s Quest to Cure the Illness that Stole His Son