Sen. Tim Kaine, Who Has Long COVID, Introduces Bill to Help Long Haulers

U.S. The grueling effects of Long CoVID are well known to Senator Tim Kaine. The Virginia Democrat, Tim Kaine, introduced legislation Wednesday to assist other Americans suffering from this mysterious condition.

Kaine was first diagnosed with COVID-19 in 2012, and he still experiences moderate symptoms. And he’s not alone. Numerous Americans continue to struggle with chronic health problems long after being infected. Because more research is needed and diagnoses remain inconsistent, it’s hard to gauge just how many people are plagued by lingering effects of the virus.

The Comprehensive Access to Resources and Education (CARE) for Long COVID Act is Kaine’s solution. This bill was co-sponsored in part by Democratic Senators Tammy Duckworth from Illinois and Ed Markey, of Massachusetts. It aims to increase Long COVID research as well as improve treatment access.
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“As someone with mild Long COVID symptoms, I am glad to introduce this legislation to help address the lingering effects of the coronavirus,” Kaine said in a statement. “This legislation will help improve our understanding of and response to Long COVID by expanding resources for those dealing with the long-term impacts of the virus.”

Many unknowns remain about long-term COVID. Although researchers are still trying to understand the cause, symptoms of COVID can differ greatly from patient to patient. People who were initially not seriously ill from the coronavirus have experienced symptoms that lasted weeks to even months. There have been many people who reported symptoms including neurological problems, brain fog and cardiovascular problems. Some people have experienced joint pain and prolonged fatigue.

This bill, if it is passed, will create a central patient registry that includes confirmed Long COVID cases. It would identify common data elements as well collect information about patients’ symptoms and experience. The registry’s findings would be made available to other agencies for better treatment and policy information related to Long COVID or other chronic diseases.

Another highlight of the bill is a push by the government to educate schools and employers about Long COVID and its impact on employment rights. To expand treatment access, it would create partnerships with community-based healthcare organizations.

The senators’ announcement comes just one day after President Joe Biden unveiled his plan for confronting the next phase of the pandemic during Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

“We will be there to support Americans with the long-term impacts of COVID-19, including people experiencing Long COVID or mental and behavioral health challenges; as well as families suffering from the tragedy of losing someone they loved,” the Biden administration’s Pandemic Preparedness Plan promises.

Markey who co-sponsors the bill was one of the few masked attendees during Biden’s speech at the Capitol on Tuesday night. The requirement for a mask was lifted just days before Congress’ joint session and the majority of lawmakers accepted the changes.

“As Covid safety precautions ease and cases drop, people are understandably eager to move on from the pandemic. Millions of Americans won’t be able move forward as long as they continue to suffer from the devastating effects of Long Covid. We cannot leave them behind,” Markey wroteOn Twitter, after the bill was published.


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