Sen. Tim Kaine Introduces Legislation to Research Long Covid

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., arrives in Washington in 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By Meghin Moore

March 4, 2022

“I tell people it feels like all my nerves have had like five cups of coffee,” he said just after introducing legislation to research long-term effects of COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, there are still many unanswered questions about the long-term effects of the disease, especially in those who have had a previous COVID-19 infection. 

On Wednesday, Sen. Tim Kaine revealed that he is one of the many sufferers of the phenomenon where COVID-19 symptoms can linger for weeks, months, or even years after a coronavirus infection. Not much is known about what causes long covid, or even how to treat it, which is why Sen. Kaine teamed up with Sen. Edward J. Markey and Sen. Tammy Duckworth to introduce a bill, known as the Comprehensive Access to Resources and Education (CARE) for Long COVID Act. The bill would help fund research into the disease’s long-term effects, and to help provide resources for those afflicted.

“As someone with mild long covid symptoms, I am glad to introduce this legislation to help address the lingering effects of the coronavirus,” Kaine said. “This legislation will help improve our understanding of and response to long covid by expanding resources for those dealing with the long-term impacts of the virus. As a member of the Senate [Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions] HELP Committee, I will continue working to ensure greater access to critical tools to keep our communities healthy and safe.”

Kaine was first diagnosed with Covid-19 in March 2020, with “very mild” symptoms. Former Gov. Ralph Northam has also talked about his experience with long covid, which he is still recovering from.

One study into the phenomenon revealed that more than half of covid survivors still experience lingering symptoms months after the initial infection. 

“Long covid can be serious and devastating, from neurological and respiratory symptoms to impacts on mental health. We need to take on the long-term impacts of covid as aggressively as we’ve taken on this virus by passing the CARE for Long covid Act to support research on how to better diagnose, treat, and prevent this disease,” said Sen. Markey.

The legislation introduced by the senators would help accelerate research by centralizing data from patients with long covid experiences. It would also help increase the understanding behind effective treatments, as well as any potential disparities by expanding research to help improve the health care system’s responses.

Educating patients with long covid, as well as medical providers treating them is also a key part of the bill. Patients and medical providers would work with the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help develop and provide public information on common symptoms, treatments, and any other related illnesses. 

Another key part of the bill would help develop partnerships between community-based organizations, social service providers, as well as legal assistance providers to help sufferers access any needed services.

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