United States President Joe Biden announced on Monday, 26 July, that long COVID, a condition where people experience the long-term symptoms of COVID-19, even after clearing the virus from their bodies, could be considered a disability under civil rights laws.
He also provided guidance clarifying how the condition can be categorised as a disability.
The new long COVID guidance was announced on the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law to protects people with disabilities from discrimination.
Marking the ADA anniversary, Biden pointed out that long COVID conditions can rise to disability level. Adding that accomodations for these conditions are necessary for long-haulers “so they can live their lives in dignity,” noting that this effort is the “first of its kind”, POLITICO reported.
The consideration under the law will include accommodations in the workplace, school and healthcare.
He added, “We’re bringing agencies together to make sure Americans with long COVID who have a disability have access to the rights and resources that are due under the disability law.”
Conditions for a Patient To Be Considered a Disability
With some “long-haul” patients reporting symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty thinking (brain fog) and chronic pain, one of the concerns about the virus’ is its effects on unvaccinated people.
The Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice and Department of Labor all have released resources vis-à-vis disability and long COVID.
According to the Departments of Justice, long COVID will be considered a disability “if the person’s condition or any of its symptoms is a ‘physical or mental’ impairment that ‘substantially limits’ one or more major life activities.”
However, the agency said, “individualised assessment is necessary to determine whether a person’s long COVID condition or any of its symptoms” limits their abilities.
Biden asserted that his administration is dedicated to strive for accessibility. Moreover, as a senator, Biden was a co-sponsor of the ADA.
(With inputs from POLITICO)
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