Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced a bill on Wednesday to help those living with long COVID symptoms, saying he is one of potentially millions of Americans still suffering from lingering illness weeks or months after their initial infection.
Kaine, alongside Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), said the bill, dubbed the Care for Long COVID Act, would improve research and provide federal resources for those suffering from the lingering disease.
“As someone with mild long COVID symptoms, I am glad to introduce this legislation to help address the lingering effects of the coronavirus,” the senator said in a statement. “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.”
Up to 140 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But for many, some symptoms haven’t subsided after the initial course of illness and have lasted for weeks or months. Long COVID is a catch-all term for a mysterious group of symptoms including fatigue, brain fog, heart issues and respiratory problems.
Studies are still underway to understand the phenomenon, and it remains unclear why some people develop long-lasting symptoms from COVID-19 and other don’t.
Kaine said his symptoms were mild but included a “24/7” tingling sensation and that his body has “not gone back to where it was before” he was first infected with the virus in 2020.
“I tell people it feels like all my nerves have had like five cups of coffee,” the senator told The Washington Post on Wednesday. “I know how my body felt before I got covid …. That gives me an understanding for people who talk about these long covid symptoms.”