Sen. Kaine Sponsors Bill to Help Long COVID-19 Patients

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U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is sponsoring a new bill to provide research and funding to support patients known as COVID-19 long-haulers.

Eli Musser was awaiting his wedding day when he got COVID-19. The wait got longer when the couple postponed their wedding because Musser's battle with COVID-19 didn't end but changed.

“Terrible new symptoms: seizures, night sweats, panic attacks, insomnia," he said.

COVID-19 long-haulers’ symptoms linger long after the initial infection subsides.

"I'm 42,” Musser said. “I never, I never in a million years would have ever dreamed that this is what would happen to me, and there are other long-haulers who say the exact same thing."

While the severity of symptoms varies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are about 20 million Americans who are COVID-19 long-haulers, including Kaine.

"I know what my body felt like for 62-and-a-half years and I know what it's felt like for the last two, and it's not gone back to how it felt before," Kaine said.

Kaine was one of the first high-profile figures on Capitol Hill to catch COVID-19, and a mild yet unwelcome feeling still lingers.

"I felt like all my nerve endings were tingling,” he said. “I've described it, it was as if they'd all had five cups of coffee, and it's 24/7 for the last two years."

Kaine is pushing legislation to help long-haulers. Introduced this month, the bill would accelerate research on long-haulers and use that research to educate patients and providers. The bill also seeks funding to boost access to services.

Musser is not sure if his symptoms will ever subside, but Congress can consider means to help him and millions of others.

President Joe Biden has already endorsed another COVID-19-relief bill that includes some of what Kaine is proposing, and that bill is currently hung up in Congress. Kaine said he's confident they'll make progress on both pieces of legislation.

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