White House officials on Tuesday announced new plans to deal with the impact of Long COVID, a constellation of prolonged symptoms including brain fog and shortness of breath that can occur after COVID-19 infection.
People with long-term COVID, sometimes referred to as “long-haul,” report a range of symptoms, including fatigue, brain fog, pain, headaches and shortness of breath. The condition is also called post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC).
Estimates vary as to how many people have had COVID for a long time. The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation believes that more than 23 million Americans have PASCwhile preliminary research from Denmark found that 30% of people who tested positive for the virus had at least one symptom 6 to 12 months later.
At least 1 million Americans are thought to be unable to work due to post-COVID symptoms, according to the Government Accountability Office.
The Biden administration’s plan is far-reaching and comes the day after Senate negotiators reached agreement on a $10 billion COVID-19 treatment package.
The plan aims to fund research on how health care providers can best care for people with long COVID, establish more care centers that will focus on caring for people with long COVID, to educate health care providers about long COVID and strengthen insurer requirements to cover the costs of care associated with long COVID.
It also builds on the work that other federal agencies have done to combat the long COVID over the past year or so. HHS and the Department of Justice released advice last summer that says the long COVID can sometimes be seen as a liability. The National Institutes of Health is funding a study examining the long-term effects of COVID-19 on 15,000 people. Even an ICD-10 code has long been established COVID. (This is a kind of diagnosis and billing code used in electronic medical records.)
The administration said Tuesday that the National Interagency Long COVID Research Action Plan will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, the federal agency that oversees the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Medicare and Medicaid.