President Joe Biden has issued a memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate a new effort across the federal government to develop and issue the first-ever interagency national research action plan to address the long-term effects of Covid.
The effort will advance progress in preventing, diagnosing, treating, and providing services, supports, and interventions for patients experiencing Long Covid and associated conditions.
HHS will lead a government-wide interagency coordinating council, which will involve experts from the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, the Labor Department, and many entities across government, to coordinate both public- and private-sector work to advance the understanding of Long Covid.
The Presidential Memorandum also directs HHS to issue a report outlining services and supports across federal agencies to assist people experiencing Long COVID, individuals who are dealing with a COVID-related loss, and people who are experiencing mental health and substance use issues related to the pandemic.
This report will specifically address the long-term effects of COVID-19 on high-risk communities and efforts to address disparities in access to services and supports.
Millions of people in the U.S. continue to report prolonged illness from Coronavirus infection, known as “Long COVID.” Lingering health effects range from things that are easier to notice, like trouble breathing or irregular heartbeat, to less apparent but potentially serious conditions related to the brain or mental health.
Meanwhile, a federal program that reimbursed doctors, pharmacists and other providers for vaccinating the uninsured had to be closed Tuesday due to a lack of funds.
Senate Republicans Tuesday voted down consideration of a much-needed bill to purchase Covid vaccines, boosters, and life-saving treatments.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki warned of consequences for Congress’ failure to fund the government’s Covid Response.
“America’s supply of monoclonal antibodies that are effective at keeping people out of the hospital will run out as soon as late May. Our test manufacturing capacity will begin ramping down at the end of June. Today’s Senate vote is a step backward for our ability to respond to this virus,” she said in a statement.
New national estimates released Tuesday show that the Omicron sublineage BA.2 is now projected to account for 72 percent of circulating variants nationally, with all regions of the country reporting that BA.2 is now the dominant variant.
The high level of immunity in the population from vaccines, boosters, and previous infection will provide some level of protection against BA.2, CDC director Dr.Rochelle Walensky said in a news conference.
As positive cases remain relatively low compared to earlier stages of the pandemic, 95 percent of counties in the United States are reporting low COVID-19 community levels, that represent over 97 percent of the U.S. population.
With 29,521 new cases reported on Tuesday, total U.S. Covid cases increased to 80,209,361, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. With 457 additional deaths, U.S. Covid casualties reached 982,558.
4,106 additional deaths were reported globally on Tuesday, taking the total number of people who lost their lives due to the pandemic so far to 6,159,827.
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