Maya McNulty of Covid Wellness: In Light Of The Pandemic, Here Are The 5 Things We Need To Do To Improve The US Healthcare System

An Interview With Luke Kervin

Luke Kervin, Co-Founder of Tebra
Authority Magazine
Published in
12 min readJul 14, 2021


The scale of long Covid is an issue with the population. There is growing evidence of healthcare that it is disproportionate in minority communities. Covid survivors like myself need to go to the doctor every two weeks. Doctors hands are tied only able to use the medical codes they have. Some diagnose you as having the flu when it is actually Covid. Insurance companies have failed to create accurate medical billing codes timely for Covid-19. It’s never been done, there’s not good evidence and research and insufficient date to put out education.

The COVID-19 Pandemic taught all of us many things. One of the sectors that the pandemic put a spotlight on was the healthcare industry. The pandemic showed the resilience of the US healthcare system, but it also pointed out some important areas in need of improvement.

In our interview series called, “In Light Of The Pandemic, Here Are The 5 Things We Need To Do To Improve The US Healthcare System,” we are interviewing doctors, hospital administrators, nursing home administrators, and healthcare leaders who can share lessons they learned from the pandemic about how we need to improve the US Healthcare System.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure to interview Maya McNulty.

Maya McNulty, Founder of Covid Wellness, LLC. CEO, UpTheBiz Marketing & Branding Agency, three times Best-Selling Author and Podcaster. She has worked with thousands of people for more than two decades creating opportunities for entrepreneurs as one of America’s most respected business branding strategist, marketer and speaker.

Maya a young female battled Coronavirus March 2020, hospitalized for 69 days, in a 30-day medically induced coma and ventilator for six weeks. Maya, a long hauler, has had to re-learn how to walk, talk and eat again. She lost her hair, voice and is still recovering steadily.

After 15 months of therapy, Maya started Covid Wellness Clinic Online Program to heal long haulers from the comfort of their home. She also started a Foundation Covid Wellness, LLC. The Foundation helps to support Covid-19 survivors and their families with recovery support and guidance.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into our interview, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory and a bit about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was born in Guyana, South America. My parents and my two brothers and I came to America in 1979. I was six years old. I can best remember flying on PanAm Airlines. It was my first plane ride experience. We landed in New York City, at JFK airport with our suitcases and a dream for a better life. In 1983 my family and I became American citizens. My mom worked in a factory and my dad as an Orthopedic Tech. My parents taught my brothers and I about hard work, discipline, integrity and to show up! As a kid, I was always into trouble with my mouth. My high school guidance counselor suggested I go into law. I always argued to find solutions even at a young age. It’s no wonder I am an advocate for long haulers, Covid-19 families and survivors of Covid-19.

I was introduced to entrepreneurship in eighth grade when our class had an end-of-year project requirement to raise money for our “moving up” dance. Our class created a carnival and sold popcorn, cotton candy, balloons and handmade crafts. We even had the dreaded-by-parents-universally, win-a-goldfish game. This experience taught me about teamwork. I grew up in Schenectady, NY, and studied fashion in high school through the vo-tech program at Linton High School where I created my design portfolio. I had a burning desire to change the fashion industry with sustainable and recycle clothes. In 1991, I studied Fashion Merchandising and Design at Bay State College in Boston, Mass. In 1993, was privileged to continue my studies of fashion and design in London and Paris. I also had a fashion designer mentor in the North End of Boston, Denise Hajjar. After graduating from college, I returned to Upstate, NY, and searched for a real “job” to repay college loans. I worked in insurance for about 18 months and later got fired. After being fired, I desperately tried to find a job in fashion design. With no luck, I was on unemployment. I took an SBA class with the Empire Development, joined SCORE and found a mentor. I opened my first business Vintage Boutique in Scotia, NY. The fashion lines included recycled jeans and repurposed clothes. We also sold jewelry and a mix of new fashions. The dress shop changed the name from Vintage Boutique to Village Boutique after three months of clients and market not wanting recycled or used clothing. I learned a lot about marketing, customer service and running a business through hands-on experience.

My number one advice would be to find a mentor. Don’t hire a mentor. Mentors are everywhere if you simply ask. I’m honored to have a leadership mentor, a product design mentor, an SEO mentor, a branding mentor, a course creation mentor and a medical mentor because I’m raising better Covid-19 awareness. All of my mentors operate multi-million-dollar businesses. They are free! I don’t pay them a dime. I just asked, “Would you be my mentor?”

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

One of the funniest stories was when I was in the hospital. When I at last woke from my coma and was able to be more alert than I had been just seven days prior. At that time, they moved me into another room where I would be able to function on my own with therapist assist. To reiterate, during the height of the pandemic in March 2020, I contracted the Coronavirus while at the gym. Early on, I could hear the nurses talking about how I lost my voice. Then, I heard them say, “she has Covid-19.” I was completely unaware that the world was shut down as I had lost the ability to watch tv. I had no idea it had been changed to Covid-19 from Coronavirus. I thought, “I have that too?” not knowing that the name had changed! Having this experience prompted me to start writing in my journal in the hospital. I was in tremendous pain, and they started to block my body with the medicine I was under while in the coma. Subsequently, I couldn’t move or walk or talk. It wasn’t until I had roommates that I got a chance to move. They were bringing new patients at all hours by helicopter to Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital where I was in from Fleshing, NY, so I had many roommates, and lots of diversity. One roommate I had who didn’t speak any English had her phone alarm set for 6am everyday that went off playing the French nursery rhyme Frere Jacques! I became more compassionate and had empathy when I witnessed the incredible language barriers in healthcare and hospitals. We need to do better than that. America is a melting pot. Patients have to wait for translator services, so if they have to go to the bathroom, it makes things difficult. The roommate I was talking about would start in her walker, but her leg was debilitated, so she would fall and the bed alarm would off. Even though the hospital was doing the best they could, they need multiple language translators 24/7 because the world doesn’t stop.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Through my experience, I have learned to be more compassionate and have more empathy for different cultures and ethnicities because of the language barriers I witnessed.

Favorite quote: “The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take the first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dreams.” — Les Brown

Person I’d like to meet: Warren Buffett

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We have launched Covid Wellness Clinic Online Program. Covid Wellness, LLC is dedicated to the support and education of families and individuals living with serious and debilitating Long Covid. These are the Covid-19 long haulers. Covid Wellness Clinic advocates for better services in the health system of care, strives to educate the public about the effects of Long Covid, strives to eradicate the stigma and supports Covid-19 science and research.

How would you define an “excellent healthcare provider”?

In my personal opinion, they are healthcare heroes and superheroes. They have been dealt a card that no one can understand unless they live it. One that answers the code when the code is called, a member of a trusted team and is open to learning as opposed to using old methods. Healthcare providers are earth angels.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. The COVID-19 pandemic has put intense pressure on the American healthcare system. Some healthcare systems were at a complete loss as to how to handle this crisis. Can you share with our readers a few examples of where we’ve seen the U.S. healthcare system struggle? How do you think we can correct these specific issues moving forward?

One of the problems is that the experience of having Long Covid is that it has caused a negative financial, health, physical, emotional and social impact. This is due to the lack of benefits and support and dependence on others because you have to ask for help. The illness is continuous, it doesn’t’ just go away. Covid-19 has caused people to have disabilities, and they haven’t even taken care of people with disabilities. It’s been a long-standing problem. And what those suffering from illnesses like PTSD or cancer…where do we the Covid long haulers fit in?

Another problem is the countless underserved communities, here and worldwide, who are likely to be exposed and will have trouble recovering from long Covid due to the persistent exposure. It’s invisible so you don’t know where it is. You have exposure, then lack of ventilation because usually they are in crowded spaces living among people because that’s all they can afford.

Of course, the story is not entirely negative. Healthcare professionals were true heroes on the front lines of the crisis. The COVID vaccines are saving millions of lives. Can you share a few ways that our healthcare system really did well? If you can, please share a story or example.

I was told to quarantine at first because at that time Covid-19 was only affecting the elderly. But when I continued to get worse, my husband had to carry me on his back to the car and drive me to the hospital. The ER nurse at Ellis Medical took me inside by wheelchair, and I don’t recall checking in because they immediately put me in a coma. The Covid-19 virus became a warning to the governor and hospitals in upstate New York as they discovered more and more cases. The doctors were willing to go to war, and they ultimately saved my life because they never gave up on me. This includes the nurses, the housekeeping staff who also had to fight for their community. It didn’t matter your race or economic status. They were called to fight the Covid war and they answered.

Here is the primary question of our discussion. As a healthcare leader can you share 5 changes that need to be made to improve the overall US healthcare system? Please share a story or example for each.

I think more needs to be done to help underserved communities worldwide. Also, the standard for accepting health insurance needs to be improved. For example, you need a fire extinguisher in case of emergency, why can’t you have health insurance to fall back on?

Insurance companies can improve greatly on this in remote and tribal areas where they don’t have the ability to travel for treatment. They have no support, and many don’t have proper internet. The quality of internet and technology needs to be improved to get people connected to more telemedicine educators who can help. This world is truly wireless.

Also, proper ventilation and air quality needs to be improved in public housing and shelters to kill the virus. If they do inspections on construction sites, why can’t they follow those same guidelines?

The scale of long Covid is an issue with the population. There is growing evidence of healthcare that it is disproportionate in minority communities. Covid survivors like myself need to go to the doctor every two weeks. Doctors hands are tied only able to use the medical codes they have. Some diagnose you as having the flu when it is actually Covid. Insurance companies have failed to create accurate medical billing codes timely for Covid-19. It’s never been done, there’s not good evidence and research and insufficient date to put out education.

Let’s zoom in on this a bit deeper. How do you think we can address the problem of physician shortages?

I can understand that because they have a lack of personal protective equipment, and many have to buy it out of their own pocket and are not reimbursed. Health insurance should reimburse all healthcare provides so they can protect themselves. Also, they were also exposed to Covid and dying, and that was not being addressed. They are not robots saving lives they are human beings.

How do you think we can address the issue of physician burnout?

I would say minimizing the long hours so they won’t just think they can’t take it anymore. Add to that they are forced to tell patients to call their loved ones by zoom. Being around constant negativity is mentally frustrating and draining. It’s not about the paycheck, they are probably taking an exit plan thinking how do I get out of this, just like police officers. They don’t get the support and the insurance companies make it too difficult for doctors to do business. It was once an elite profession and is now comparable to a garbage man. People are thinking, “Why would I go to college for 10 years and work 14 hours a day, with aload of financial debt and stress?”We need to provide incentives for doctors and healthcare providers and let them know they are heroes. Who wants and adequate doctor? I don’t!

What concrete steps would have to be done to actually manifest these changes? What can a) individuals, b) corporations, c) communities and d) leaders do to help?

Nothing changes unless you do. The problem is poor communication, policy makers and bureaucratic red tape. It’s difficult and in a language that is hard for people to understand. It’s not written in plain English. It doesn’t matter where you live, what age, if it’s easy to understand, the people know what they are getting. We as Americans pride ourselves for teach people to take up constitutional rights. Health care costs are out of control, as are prescription costs and copayments. It’s outrageous.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

With Covid Wellness Foundation, I’m working with HR departments worldwide so they can share it with people at no cost or low cost. This way, we are able to alleviate the financial burden I felt and others are feeling. Our program will help people understand where to start. This way there is hope. I feel that the reason I survived is so I can give people hope, and if I can make someone’s life better and more worth living, I am answering the code like the doctors did for me. Over 600,000+ people have died and I am incredibly lucky that I survived. In that surviving, I ask myself what I can do to improve the life that I have? Medicine is a catastrophic failure when it comes to that, and the cost is unbearable to families which is causing a mental health problem. They are making it so difficult some people are committing suicide. By putting a band aid on one problem you are opening another can of worms. We need to provide the health insurance, because, quite simply, people don’t know what they don’t know.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Connect with Maya McNulty: Here’s your personal invite:

Learn More:

Thank you so much for these insights! This was very inspirational and we wish you continued success in your great work.



Luke Kervin, Co-Founder of Tebra
Authority Magazine

Luke Kervin is the Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Tebra