Australian COVID-19 survivors have revealed permanent damage and debilitating symptoms months after beating the virus.
Ongoing fatigue, 'brain fog', lung scarring and hair loss are some of the terrifying effects young and previously fit survivors have been left with, and they fear they'll never return to full health.
Australian doctors warned that they are seeing significant post-covid illness which is likely to cause a serious long-term health issue in the country.
Researchers at Sydney's St Vincent's Hospital have studied over 100 recovered COVID-19 patients, finding many are suffering long-term effects.
BlackRock associate Janine Coppi, 37, was fit, young and healthy before her mild case of coronavirus - but five-and-a-half months later she still hasn't recovered
Fit, young ultra-marathon champion Janine Coppi, 37, contracted a mild case of of the virus five-and-a-half months ago - and still hasn't recovered.
The Sydney resident never needed hospitalisation - but she didn't make a speedy recovery.
Ms Coppi still cannot run her marathons months later and says the five months after her illness have been worse than the illness itself.
The accomplished associate at BlackRock, one of the world's largest investment management firms, suffers 'brain fog' so badly that when she looked at her watch and could see the hands and numbers, she couldn't force herself to make the mental effort to work out what the time was.
Ms Coppi choked back tears as she revealed how devastating it is to have only regained about 60 per cent of her former health - on a good day - five months later.
'It's hard to talk about,' she told 60 Minutes.
'It's something deep inside me, like there's a trauma - and doctors not knowing how to help, what to do, makes it a lot scarier.'
Some have dismissed coronavirus as little more than the flu, and a risk only to the elderly and those with underlying conditions such as diabetes.
However the risk of long-term disabilities from the virus is now clearly becoming an issue for younger, formerly healthy, survivors.
Liberal Party lobbyist Joe Tannous was 49 when he contracted COVID-19 in March.
The father-of-three had been fit and healthy and had no underlying health conditions when he tested positive.
'It's something deep inside me, like there's a trauma - and doctors not knowing how to help, what to do, makes it a lot scarier,' Ms Coppi said
Janine Coppi (pictured) went from winning ultra-marathons to still suffering debilitating symptoms more than five months after recovering from her bout of covid-19, which is distressing as doctors do not know how to help her
St Vincent's Hospital respiratory specialist David Darley points out the cloudy areas showing the damage covid-19 has wrought on the lungs of one patient
Unlike Ms Coppi, he did not contract a mild case.
By March 21 he was coughing so badly he couldn't talk and an ambulance rushed him to St George Hospital where he was the first patient admitted to the hospital's new COVID-19 ward.
He quickly became so sick that he had to be put in an induced coma for 10 days and nearly died.
He thought his ordeal had ended once he checked out of hospital.
Instead he has had to return to hospital almost weekly for a battery of tests as his health has not recovered.
Mr Tannous told 60 Minutes he can't even walk up a flight of stairs anymore without becoming breathless.
'I can't come to the gym and lift the weights that I used to be able to lift, and do the boxing and do the training that I used to be able to do, and certainly can't walk the distance that I used to walk or ride my bike,' he said.
Doctors at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, are conducting a year-long follow-up investigation to research the long-term effects of coronavirus.
Previously fit, healthy 49-year-old Joe Tannous in St George Hospital in March. The Liberal party lobbyist spent 10 days in an induced coma and thought his ordeal was over when he survived. Now, six months later, he still cannot climb a flight of stairs easily
LIberal party lobbyist Joe Tannous pictured before he got coronavirus. Mr Tannous said he still can't lift the weights he used to lift, or box or walk the distance he used to walk
Joe Tannous, now aged 50, getting a CT scan in one of his weekly trips to hospital. He has not yet recovered from his bout of coronavirus six months ago
St Vincent's Hospital specialists Gregory Dore (left) and David Darley (right) are conducting ground-breaking research on how coronavirus affects survivors in the year after their illness
They are concerned they are seeing inflammation and scarring of the lungs months after patients