The Biden administration on Monday released guidance and resources to support people experiencing long-term effects of Covid-19, known as “long Covid,” as the condition shapes up to be a major, long-term public health issue.
The announcement comes as President Joe Biden will mark the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday will deliver remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House.
Some people with long Covid may have a disability under various civil rights laws that entitles them to protection from discrimination, according to guidance released by the Office for Civil Rights at the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Justice.
The administration also provided guidance that addresses the needs of children with long Covid who may be children with disabilities, and updated information about where people can access resources and accommodations.
Long Covid, or post-Covid, is an umbrella term that describes a variety of physical and mental problems that can follow four or more weeks after a Covid-19 infection, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The symptoms are not consistent, and it is not yet known how many people have the condition. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, fever, anxiety, depression, pain, a loss of taste and smell, difficulty thinking, a racing heart and many others.
During his remarks, Biden is expected to highlight the work of disability advocates and also tout the bipartisan roots of the Americans with Disabilities Act, one White House official tells CNN.
“He will note how, 31 years ago, the ADA was a Democratic bill signed into law by a Republican president. And just as George H.W. Bush signed it into law surrounded by both Democrats and Republicans, President Biden will recognize that more than three decades later, leaders from across the aisle are standing together again because the ADA is a product of passion and compassion — not partisanship,” the official said.
The speech comes as the White House presses forward for a bipartisan deal in Congress to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The fate of the bipartisan infrastructure framework currently hangs in the balance on Capitol Hill.
Biden on Monday will tout the ADA as an essential piece of legislation for the more than 60 million Americans living with a disability and outline how the legislation has “had real impact on real lives,” the official said.
The President will note the law “has prevented disabled Americans from being denied service at a restaurant or grocery store, allowed a person in a wheelchair to ride a bus or train to work or school and stopped employers from refusing to hire workers because of a disability,” according to the official.
Biden will also note in his remarks that “too many disabled Americans still face barriers to freedom and equality,” the official said. The President will highlight the provisions in his economic proposals that address the needs of Americans with disabilities, including expanding access to long-term services and supports for people with disabilities.
The President and vice president will be joined by second gentleman Doug Emhoff, bipartisan leaders in Congress and advocates from the disability community. Biden will also sign a proclamation marking the anniversary of the passing of the law.
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