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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Biden Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is considering the possibility of instituting a new set of masking and social distancing mandates in an effort to protect the public from the effects of what is known as “Long COVID,” a condition where those testing positive for the virus continue to suffer lingering effects over a long period of time.
A new HHS report – conducted by research firm Coforma – recommends that the federal government put numerous policies in-place to assist with those whose lives are impacted by Long COVID, including campaigns to spread awareness of the ailment, support group funding, financial assistance for afflicted individuals who are unable attend school or work, and new healthcare benefits specific to COVID.
While the vast majority of the recommendations in the HHS report are in no way controversial, one aspect could very well be if adopted- a claim that ending previous mask mandates has adversely affected those with Long COVID, and a call to lawmakers – both on a state and federal level – to bring those mask mandates back.
“The lifting of mask mandates and indifferent attitude toward masking and social distancing typical in many public and private places further isolates people with Long COVID,” the report said. “As a result, policymakers should encourage or mandate policies and protocols regarding masking and social distancing in public spaces.”
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Last week, the White House asked Congress to approve the expenditure of an additional $10 billion in order to continue the fight against COVID, with Long COVID said to be the main focus going forward said HHS Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Rachel Levine.
“Listening to and learning from the experiences of long COVID patients is essential to accelerating understanding and breakthroughs,” Levine said. “The new HHS report is evidence of our commitment to engaging communities to provide patient-led solutions.”
In addition to recommended mask mandates, the HHS report also encourages “vaccine promotion as a preventative measure for Long COVID.”