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.”