- “Long COVID” can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, President Joe Biden said Monday.
- “Many Americans who appear to be recovering from the virus are still facing ongoing challenges such as breathing problems, brain fog, chronic pain and fatigue,” Biden said in a 31st speech. “These conditions can sometimes escalate to a disability.”
- The president said his government is working with agencies to ensure workers with persistent COVID symptoms “have access to the rights and resources provided by ADA.”
The Biden government released several resources on COVID’s long-term interaction with the ADA in addition to the president’s announcement. Among them the US Department of Health published guidance It is said that long-term COVID is considered a disability under Titles II and III of the ADA “if it significantly restricts one or more important life activities” – the threshold the law uses to define any disability.
HHS offered several circumstances under which a long COVID can severely limit an important life activity. Long-term coronavirus symptoms can interfere with breathing, eating, or thinking – all major life activities. People whose COVID-related illnesses are classified as disabilities are entitled to the same protection as anyone else with a disability, HHS said.
The guidelines did not apply to Title I of the ADA, which regulates employment in the private sector. The U.S. Equal Opportunities Commission, which enforces Title I, did not issue a statement on Biden’s announcement or long weighed COVID, but it uses the same HHS standard that is referenced when defining disabilities.
Long-term COVID affects between 10 and 30% of people who have contracted the virus. according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal. This number includes those who have had mild or asymptomatic infections.