The Biden administration unveiled a new plan on Tuesday to improve the nation's understanding of long COVID and to better prevent, detect, and treat the condition, particularly in hard-hit communities.
"Long COVID is real, and there is still so much we don't know about it," said Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra during a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing.
Millions of Americans may be affected by lingering symptoms of an acute COVID-19 infection, with symptoms ranging from labored breathing to an irregular heartbeat to serious neurological symptoms or mental health problems.
HHS will lead a government-wide response to long COVID, Becerra said, with a new research agenda focused on three core goals: improving care, enhancing outreach and education, and advancing research. HHS will oversee the development of an interagency National Research Action Plan on Long COVID, with input from the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration, among other government entities, as well as from public and private efforts focused on long COVID.
In addition to establishing an action plan, President Biden issued a memorandum that calls on the HHS Secretary to publish a report that would steer people with long COVID to services available from various federal agencies, as well as those experiencing a COVID-related loss and those dealing with pandemic-related mental health and substance use problems, with particular attention to "high-risk communities."
Tuesday's announcement and memorandum stem in part from recommendations of the Presidential COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Other efforts by the administration to address long COVID detailed in a White House fact sheet included the following:
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