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Sen. Kaine, with long COVID himself, introduces research bill

The bill aims to improve research on long COVID as well as provide resources for people experiencing long-term COVID-19 symptoms.

WASHINGTON — Author's note: The video above is on file from Jan. 27, 2022.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine introduced a bill Wednesday to help people living with long-term COVID-19 symptoms, a condition also known as long COVID.

The Virginia Democrat said the Comprehensive Access to Resources and Education (CARE) for Long COVID Act aims to improve research on long COVID as well as provide resources for people experiencing long-term symptoms.

The little-understood phenomenon, in which symptoms linger for weeks or months after a coronavirus infection, could affect thousands. Kaine himself said he still suffers mild symptoms, nearly two years after first contracting COVID-19.

If enacted, the bill would:

  • Allow health officials to centralize data regarding long COVID patient experiences
  • Expand health officials' research to improve the health care system's responses to long COVID
  • Direct the CDC to educate the public about long COVID
  • Facilitate collaboration between federal agencies to educate employers and schools on the impact of long COVID
  • Direct health officials to develop partnerships between community-based organizations, social service providers and legal assistance providers to help people with long COVID access needed services

The bill comes after President Joe Biden announced an updated COVID-19 strategy to help people return to normal routines. While COVID-19 cases continue to drop, researchers are trying to understand the long-term impacts of the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said anyone infected with COVID-19 could experience a range of symptoms long after being diagnosed, including difficulty breathing, tiredness, sleep issues, and mood changes.

According to a review published in the JAMA Network Open, over half of COVID-19 survivors experience lingering symptoms six months after recovery.

Kaine introduced the bill alongside Democratic U.S. Sens. Ed Markey and Tammy Duckworth.

The text of the bill can be found on Kaine's website.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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