BETHEL — For the most part, Rob Stowell's days working the cash register and unloading food from trucks at Trader Joe's in Danbury are pretty typical — with one exception. 

All day long, every day, he coughs. He's not sick — his cough is from having a severe case of COVID-19 in 2020, where he came close to death. 

"My symptoms are not horrible but I do have some lasting lung issues," he said, amidst a bout of coughing. "I've still got some scar tissue in my lungs, which has not abated."

Stowell, a Bethel resident and former teacher, has long COVID, which is defined as COVID-19 symptoms lasting longer than one month, said Jerrold Kaplan, a physiatrist and medical director of outpatient and workers' compensation services at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare in Wallingford.

Kaplan launched Gaylord’s outpatient COVID Recovery and Rehab Services in 2020 —  a long COVID program that's still going strong today, as the world marks the three year anniversary of March 11, 2020 — the day when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.

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