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How the U.S. will Fight Long COVID

White House launches new effort to better understand post-COVID conditions

April 08, 2022

The U.S. has launched a new campaign to “prevent, detect, and treat” long COVID and provide support to millions of Americans who have suffered from lingering COVID-related symptoms.

Estimates vary, but between 7.7 million and 23 million people in the U.S. may have developed long COVID. Symptoms can include brain fog, joint and muscle pain, shortness of breath, and mood changes four or more weeks after COVID-19 infection.

Research is underway to understand reported post-COVID-19 health effects, risk factors, and causes, but more work is needed, federal officials said this week.

“Long COVID is real, and there is still so much we don’t know about it,” Xavier Becerra, secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said.

This week the Biden administration launched a “whole-of-government effort” dedicated to addressing long COVID. The initiative includes:

  • Investigating how health care systems can care for people with long COVID, beginning with a $20 million investment during Fiscal Year 2023 and the establishment of new Centers of Excellence
  • Promoting provider education and clinical support
  • Assessing opportunities to enhance coverage for long COVID through Medicare, Medicaid, insurance marketplace coverage, and other options
  • Launching a National Research Action Plan on long COVID to better understand the condition
  • Collecting experiences of people living with long COVID and associated conditions

A recent report from the Government Accountability Office highlighted the challenges ahead, including an estimated one million people out of work due to long COVID and overall difficulties understanding post-viral syndromes.

“The causes of long COVID are not fully understood, complicating diagnosis and treatment,” the report noted. “The condition raises policy questions, such as how best to support patients.”

HAP will continue to monitor the latest COVID-19 public health developments and provide updates to members and the general public. Additional information about the new initiative to address long COVID is available online.