US President Joe Biden signs a proclamation on the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as (LR) artist Tyree Brown, Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), former MP Tony Coelho (D-CA), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and House Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) watch in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 26, 2021 in Washington, DC.
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President Joe Biden announced Monday that some Americans who have long-term effects from Covid may be eligible for disability resources and federal government protections.
The announcement came as the President celebrated the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in a speech in the White House Rose Garden with Vice President Kamala Harris. It also happens that the long-term symptoms of the virus, what some refer to as “long covid”, are becoming a major public health problem.
“We are bringing agencies together to ensure that Americans with long Covid who have a disability have access to the rights and resources that are due under the Disability Act,” Biden said during his remarks.
Under the guidance of Health and Human Services and the Ministry of Justice, “Long Covid” can be considered a disability under federal citizenship laws if it “significantly restricts one or more important life activities”.
This means that individuals with “long covid” symptoms leading to disability are entitled to resources and protection from discrimination under state disability laws.
These safeguards include providing additional time for a test for students with difficulty concentrating, assisting with refueling at a gas station for a customer with joint or muscle pain, and allowing a person who is dizzy to be accompanied by a companion animal. Corporations and state or local governments may also need to make other changes that address a person’s “long covid” symptoms that lead to disability.
An individual assessment is required to determine whether a person with “long covid” is eligible for such protections and resources under the guidelines.
“Long covid” describes a wide range of new or persistent symptoms that, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can follow four or more weeks after a Covid infection. These include tiredness and exhaustion, joint or muscle pain, loss of taste or smell and fever.
Some people can also suffer damage to multiple organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin, and brain, according to the CDC. But “long covid” symptoms are inconsistent and it is not known how many people have the condition.
The Biden administration has also released new guidelines addressing the needs of children with “long covid” who may have disabilities. The guidance issued by the Ministry of Education describes how schools and public institutions can provide services to children and students with “long covid” that leads to disability.
Other efforts to support Americans with “long covid” include a new guide from HHS outlining community-based resources for those with the condition and a new Department of Labor website that includes resources for workers with “long covid”. such as information on social benefits.
Most people who contract Covid recover within a few weeks, but reports of “long Covid” symptoms are increasing among Americans.
Research published by FAIR Health last month found that around 23% of nearly 2 million Covid patients developed at least one “ongoing or new” illness more than four weeks after their initial diagnosis.