The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a new report on Monday that recommends once again returning to the practice of social distancing and wearing masks.
The department commissioned the report, which was created by Coforma, a research group. Its suggestions reportedly come from patient interviews, and it recommends that the once-common COVID-19 prevention practices should be imposed again to assist people who are struggling from potential “Long COVID,” a persisting form of COVID-19.
The report seemed to suggest that Americans should alter their daily lives in order to assist those who have changed their habits due to longterm illness, as well as protect themselves from getting COVID-19 or potentially getting “Long COVID.” It pointed out that people with “Long COVID” do not enter public areas or attend events because they are afraid of being infected again or possibly making their symptoms worse, as well as due to the effects on their health.
“Some may experience PTSD symptoms as a result of trauma they incurred during their acute infection. The lifting of mask mandates and indifferent attitude towards masking and social distancing typical in many public and private places further isolates people with Long COVID,” it stated.
The report recommended “[e]ncourag[ing] or mandat[ing] policies and protocols regarding masking and social distancing in public spaces that protect people from infection or reinfection and possible Long COVID.”
The report recommended that federal and state policies that require schools and employers to accommodate people with disabilities, as well as those with “Long COVID,” be changed. It also said that the Work Opportunity Tax Credit should be broadened “to include hiring people with disabilities.” There should also be efforts to expand the public’s awareness about Long COVID.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no test exists that can “diagnose post-COVID conditions,” and people can also have lots of symptoms that might be the result of other health conditions.
“This can make it difficult for healthcare providers to recognize post-COVID conditions,” the CDC noted.
“Listening to and learning from the experiences of long COVID patients is essential to accelerating understanding and breakthroughs,” Rachel Levine, the Assistant Secretary for Health, said.
Levine added that the new findings were “evidence of our commitment to engaging communities to provide patient-led solutions.”
Last week, as the New York Post reported, the Biden administration was set to ask for additional funding for the COVID-19 pandemic, even as most Americans have entirely returned to their normal pre-pandemic routines. The administration was expected to ask Congress for $10 billion for the efforts before new legislators take office next year, with $750 million of that going towards long COVID.
The recent HHS report also said there should be “financial support for families who need to provide additional care to children with Long COVID.” It also noted that once a person meets the qualification for “disabled” who has Long COVID, their place of work must give them “reasonable modifications,” according to federal civil rights legislation. It stated that lots of employers and schools, however, are not ready for this task.
“As a paramedic, there are really no accommodations for me. I have to be able to run into a burning building, no matter what. I can’t have cognitive dysfunction when I’m drawing up meds to distribute to somebody,” one person with Long COVID, who was identified as Amanda, said. “So for these types of jobs, it is basically fireable because there are no types of accommodations for this. There needs to be better support for folks in this situation to find a new line of work entirely.”