WAVE 3 News anchor Lauren Jones, a COVID-19 long hauler, has a New Year’s wish for everyone

Updated: Dec. 31, 2020 at 7:27 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-November, my co-worker and fellow WAVE 3 News anchor Lauren Jones has since become what doctors call a “long-hauler.”

At a time when we are all attempting to make sense of the past year and summon new hopes for the next, I believe Lauren’s story stands out.

It’s not because she has the disease, but because of the way she has responded to it.

And I was grateful when she agreed to let me interview her briefly over Zoom.

“COVID has given me clarity and it’s made me realize the importance of life,” Lauren said to me. “And being stuck at home now for the last almost two months, I’ve been given the rare opportunity of seeing what it’s like to find out what’s really important in life.”

Lauren’s pandemic experience reveals something very frightening about COVID-19.

It’s the randomness in the way it seems to treat its victims.

”I’m OK,” she said. “I still have days that are really, really horrible. And then I have other moments during the day when I feel like I’m turning the corner.”

Lauren puts an unlikely new face on the term “long hauler.”

”I think being a long hauler is someone who takes this virus and can’t get over it,” she said. “I had no pre-existing conditions, I’m in my 30s and I can’t get rid of it.”

Once during our conversation, Lauren stopped to catch her breath, a problem she has had since symptoms first appeared. More than a month since her diagnosis, she has bravely and openly shared her ongoing ordeal on social media. Her personal experience has shed light on the seldom-discussed emotional toll of COVID-19, that comes from isolation and fear.

”I’m a terrible mom because I can’t get up,” she said. “I’m a terrible wife because I can’t kiss my husband. I’m letting work down and all of you because I can’t be there. I mean you just go through this cycle of torture when you’re sitting in a room all by yourself for three weeks straight. You just lose your mind. This has done such a number of my family. My husband’s cried more than I’ve ever seen him cry. The kids have cried. My son’s acting out. I can’t see my mom. We can’t see his mom or grandparents. It’s just such a trickle-down effect that people don’t realize.”

Lauren now looks to the new year with a wish for everyone to face the struggles of COVID together.

”And if we can just try to understand each other a little bit more,” she said, “I think that will really go a long way. It’s much easier said than done. But I think we’re facing a crisis and if we don’t do this together, then were going to fall together.”

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