'Long Covid' Will Be Covered by Federal Disability Law, Biden Says

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U.S.|‘Long Covid’ patients will be covered by federal disability law, Biden says.



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President Biden said the benefits and protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act would now extend to people facing ongoing health problems caused by a coronavirus infection that occurred weeks or months before.CreditCredit...Tom Brenner for The New York Times

Annie Karni

  • July 26, 2021, 1:57 p.m. ET

Americans suffering from “long Covid” — a term referring to new or ongoing health problems from a coronavirus infection that occurred weeks or months ago — will have access to the benefits and protection provided under federal disability law, President Biden said on Monday.

Speaking in the Rose Garden to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Mr. Biden listed some of the lingering effects that have been seen in coronavirus survivors, including “breathing problems, brain fog, chronic pain or fatigue,” and noted that the effects sometimes rise to the level of a disability.

“We are bringing agencies together to make sure Americans with long Covid, who have a disability, have access to the rights and resources that are due under the disability law,” Mr. Biden said, noting that they would include special accommodations and services in the workplace, in schools and in the health care system.

In some cases, the health effects of Covid-19 can persist for months after initially causing only mild symptoms. A study published in April found that a coronavirus infection also appears to increase the risk of death and chronic medical conditions afterward, even in people who were never sick enough with the virus to be hospitalized.

The research, based on records of patients in the Department of Veterans Affairs health system, also found that non-hospitalized Covid survivors had a 20 percent greater chance of needing outpatient medical care in the six months following infection than did people who had not contracted the coronavirus.

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