Tim Kaine introduces bill to help people with long COVID, describes his own symptoms two years after testing positive – Reuters

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), joined by other Democratic senators Ed Markey (Mass) and Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), introduced the CARE for Long COVID Act, legislation to help Americans living with long COVID symptoms long after a first positive test.

“This legislation will help improve our understanding and response to the long COVID by expanding resources for those dealing with the long-term impacts of the virus,” Kaine said. “As a member of the Senate [Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions] Committee, I will continue to work to ensure better access to essential tools to keep our communities healthy and safe.

Kaine pointed out that long COVID, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, is characterized by many symptoms, including difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; tiredness or tiredness; chest or stomach pain; joint or muscle pain; mood changes; fever; change in smell or taste; and even a feeling of pins and needles, risks straining our already fragile healthcare system.

“It’s going to strain our healthcare system,” Kaine said in an interview with The Washington Post. “It’s also going to take some research and some understanding, some compassion, for people who are dealing with these symptoms – adjustments and accommodations in the workplace. There will be many consequences to this. »

The Virginia senator also described his own experience with the long COVID, saying he has continued to experience symptoms since first testing positive for COVID antibodies and showing evidence of a previous infection in May 2020. He presented symptoms for the first time in March 2020.

“I tell people I feel like all my nerves drank five cups of coffee,” Kaine said, noting that he suffered from a “24/7” tingling sensation. Kaine said his body never felt the same despite having doctors, an MRI and being told everything was fine.

“I know how my body felt before I got COVID, I know what it felt like when I got COVID, and it hasn’t gone back to what it was before,” he said. declared. “It gives me understanding for people who talk about these long symptoms of COVID. »

Not much is known about people who have had COVID-19 for a long time and the majority of long haulers are negative for the virus. However, among the most common theories, the virus remains in some people’s bodies in a small form. Another theory suggests that the virus continues to impact the immune system, which overreacts long after the infection has passed.

“Health care providers don’t know how many of these symptoms are permanent, or if there is permanent damage,” note the UC Davis Health researchers.

“Some patients who have been critically ill from COVID-19 develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which can permanently scar their lungs. But it’s unclear if there are any scars for long-haulers who have breathing problems but not at the severe level of ARDS. Other patients with long-term loss of smell and taste also worry about permanent damage. Experts believe the loss of smell and taste will not be permanent. For most people there will probably be a resolution, but there is no clear answer as to how long it will take.

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Tim Kaine introduces bill to help people with long COVID, describes his own symptoms two years after testing positive – Reuters

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