Biden says ‘lengthy COVID’ is usually a disability beneath the ADA

Diving letter:

  • “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.”

Dive Insight:

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.

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