Covid-19 survivors with persistent symptoms who describe themselves as long distance runners can be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines issued Monday by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services.
People with long Covid may have symptoms such as fatigue, breathing difficulties, muscle and joint pain, headache, depression or anxiety, as well as difficulty thinking or concentrating, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have become known as “brain fog”.
Long Covid is classified as a disability “if the person’s condition or one of their symptoms is a“ physical or mental ”impairment that“ significantly restricts ”one or more important life activities, the guidelines say.
Some studies suggest that around 10% of Covid-19 patients could become long-distance runners. Disability rights activists say the Covid-19 pandemic could lead to the largest increase in the number of disabled people in the US in decades.
The announcement came when President Joe Biden met Legislature Dec.
“We are bringing agencies together to ensure that Americans with long-term Covid who have a disability have access to the rights and resources afforded by the Disability Act, which includes accommodation and services in the workplace and school, as well as our healthcare system Live their lives with dignity and receive the support they need to continue to meet these challenges, ”Biden said at the White House.
Some reasonable arrangements for people whose Covid has long been considered a disability include the ability to escort a person who is dizzy from their companion, allow extra time for a student with difficulty concentrating for a test, and allow gas for a client with joint or muscle pain pump, it said in the instructions.
Disability rights advocates praised the move by the Biden government.
“We are pleased that the White House recognizes that many long-distance COVID drivers will now be part of the disabled community and are therefore protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Nicole Jorwic, senior director of public policy at Arc, a nonprofit organization, it stands up for people with intellectual and developmental disorders, it says in an email.
“Federal government guidance on COVID as a disability is something advocates have asked for,” Jennifer Mathis, director of policy and legal representation at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, said in an email.
“COVID has raised important concerns about the rights of people with disabilities, including the need for reasonable accommodation and changes in a variety of contexts. said Mathis.
The CDC released preliminary guidelines in June to help doctors diagnose and treat long-term Covid. “However, the conditions after COVID-19 are not yet well understood,” the agency said at the time.
The CDC said it was “challenging” to define long Covid because it is “associated with a spectrum of physical, social and psychological consequences, as well as functional limitations that can significantly challenge patients’ wellbeing and quality of life”.
These patients struggled to get insurance companies to undertake their medical treatment and seek mental support after the challenges associated with the disease.
Lawyers expect lawsuits against health insurers for non-payment of disability benefits to people with long Covid.
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The ADA requires employers with 15 or more employees to make reasonable accommodation for people with a disability. However, what employers and employees define as appropriate can be different.
A blog post published by the Department of Labor earlier this month stated that workers who have long suffered from Covid may be eligible for workplace accommodation under the ADA.
However, the U.S. Equal Opportunities Commission enforces anti-bias laws, including the ADA, in private workplaces, and the agency has not provided specific guidance on ADA considerations for workers who have long suffered from Covid. A spokesman for the agency said the EEOC had no information on the timing of new guidelines on Covid-19, but the agency was monitoring relevant developments.
“We will continue to keep the public informed when we have information that will help workers and employers with their COVID-related workplace issues,” the spokesman said in an email.
In order to qualify as a disability within the meaning of the ADA, an employee must have, or be viewed as such, an illness that significantly restricts one or more important life activities, such as B. taking care of oneself or communicating, or the function of a large body function.
The ADA allows workers to sue an employer for discrimination or disregard for disability.
The Ministry of Education is releasing guidance on how schools may need to change services for students with long covid.
—With assistance from Paige Smith, Lydia Wheeler, Andrew Kreighbaum, and Jennifer Epstein (Bloomberg News)