Are we prepared to help the many, many people who have lingering health problems from a Covid infection? Long Covid means health problems linger for weeks, months, or years after a Covid infection. Symptoms include but are not limited to brain fog, profound fatigue, exercise intolerance, and shortness of breath.
How many “long haulers” are there? State Health Commissioner Mark Levine says “roughly one-third of the Covid cases involving Vermonters over 65 have evolved into these cases. For the general population, that number is around 20%.”
Previously, healthy people with lingering Covid symptoms may not think of themselves as disabled, despite the Biden administration announcing that long Covid can amount to a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Essentially, Covid has caused a mass-disabling event, which some have compared to HIV or polio. Millions are experiencing long-term effects that destroy lives and careers, leaving them in serious economic distress.
It’s difficult to get treatment for long-haul Covid in Vermont. Our rural health system is struggling with a worsening shortage of doctors, and we have only one post-Covid recovery program, at UVMMC
Disabled people understand the bureaucratic maze long haulers will face. We can provide peer support and guidance. Creating a common cause among people who are long haulers and those of us who identify as having a disability is imperative.
If you have disabling long Covid, reach out to Vermont’s disabled community; we can help.