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LCA Champion Sen. Tim Kaine Pushes for Long COVID Solutions, Federal Action

By January 31, 2023May 11th, 2023Alliance Updates

We’re grateful for Sen. Kaine’s continued support of the Long COVID community. Sen. Kaine, a Long COVID patient himself, has previously advocated for and represented LCA and partners’ initiatives on the federal stage. From Axios Richmond:

Downtown Richmond on Friday held the country’s first long COVID summit to bring together a U.S. senator, federal health officials, providers and patients.

Why it matters: Long COVID is disabling millions of Americans and a tenth of Virginians. Leaders are recognizing the need for a coordinated response to stem the impact of the chronic illness that has left researchers stuck on how to cure it.

  • But Congress’ response has been muted. The issue has also taken a back seat in the General Assembly to tax cuts, abortion rights and book banning.

The impact: Nearly 80% of Virginians with long COVID report that it limits their day-to-day lives, per CDC data released Wednesday. 

  • Sen. Tim Kaine said his symptoms make his body feel like all of his nerves are “dipped in an Alka-Seltzer 24/7.” 

What they’re saying: Long haulers need disability support in schools and workplaces and more educated providers that won’t dismiss their symptoms, a panel of Virginia patients told the crowd, which included state health commissioner Colin Greene and HHS Assistant Secretary Rachel Levine. 

What they’re saying: “I’m navigating a system that is much harder than it needs to be,” said Rachel Beale, a Southampton County resident whose youngest son said he doesn’t remember the last time she wasn’t sick.

  • 11-year-old ZZ DeFonde from Prince William County shared how his love of hiking has been replaced with medical appointments and wishing he could feel like himself again.

What’s next: Kaine last year introduced a bill that could jump-start recommendations from patients. He told Axios the legislation is likely to pass “even in a divided Congress.”

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