This report was published in conjunction with the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center. You can view the entire report here.
- Commonly reported symptoms of Long COVID include difficulty concentrating or thinking, difficulty breathing, fatigue that interferes with daily life, post-exertional malaise, and muscle and joint pain.
- Long COVID is similar in various respects to myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), an often-disabling illness. If research on ME/CFS had been better funded in the past, the U.S. would be in a better position today to address Long COVID.
- According to a May 2022 GAO report, 10 to 30 percent of COVID-19 survivors develop Long COVID. Subsequent research is generally consistent with this range.
- The Census Household Pulse Survey (HPS) added questions about post-COVID conditions in June 2022. In early August 2022, about 7.6 percent of all U.S. adults reported currently having one or more symptoms lasting 3 months or longer that they did not have prior to having COVID-19.
- Currently, the best US estimate is that at least 3 to 5 million US adults were living with activity-limiting symptoms of post-COVID conditions in November 2021. The first data from the HPS on Long-COVD-related disabilities will be available in October 2022.
- In the monthly Current Population Survey, the number of prime working-age adults reporting disabilities in at least one of six categories has spiked in the aftermath of the initial COVID-19 crisis. The largest single increase is due to people reporting difficulties concentrating or remembering.
- About 1.5 million Americans had ME/CFS prior to COVID-19, and that total ME/CFS prevalence could rise to over 5 million people due to COVID-19 and Long COVID.
- The body of research on the labor market impacts of Long COVID on US workers is relatively limited, but growing. A recent working paper estimates that somewhere around 500,000 to 750,000 people may have left the labor force by June 2022 due to post-COVID conditions.
- Invest at least $7.84 billion over the next five years to modernize the currently fragmented and underfunded public health information system.
- Provide additional funding for COVID-19 prevention to combat future surges and accelerate vaccine distribution.
- Provide funding for global vaccination efforts, as previously requested by the Biden administration.
- Support a new issuance of at least $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), international reserve assets, at the International Monetary Fund.
- Promote and invest in improvements to indoor air quality.
Medical Research and Health Care
- Establish and adequately fund a National Institute on Complex Chronic Conditions (including Long COVID, ME/CFS, Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome; Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) at the National Institutes of Health.
- This new institute should be structured in a way that is consistent with recommendations made by members of the Long-COVID and associated-conditions patient community earlier this year.
- Ensure that people with Long COVID and other complex chronic conditions have access to free or affordable health insurance that provides the care and treatments they need.
- Providing funding to ensure equitable access to Long COVID treatment, multidisciplinary Long COVID clinics, public education, and medical-legal partnerships that help individuals with Long COVID access employment accommodations and social services.
- Ensure that all workers have access to paid leave, paid sick days, and temporary disability insurance.
- Remove barriers, including lengthy waiting periods, to Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income for people with long-term disabilities.
- Increase access and eligibility to Unemployment Insurance for people with Long COVID and other medical conditions and disabilities.
- Provide HUD rental housing assistance to all eligible people with disabilities.