After living in the shadow of the global COVID pandemic for more than two years, the world is ready to move on, but the virus continues to show that it isn’t ready to leave us just yet.
According to Worldometer, nearly 480 million people have contracted the virus and recovered. But what this number doesn’t show are the millions of people who have recovered yet are still experiencing the long-term effects of the virus.
What is Long COVID?
Long COVID can occur in anyone previously diagnosed with the virus, regardless of severity. According to a recent study of nearly 2 million people diagnosed with COVID-19, 23% of participants continued to show at least one symptom of the virus for more than 30 days after their initial diagnoses.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that “people with post-COVID conditions can have a wide range of symptoms that can last more than four weeks or even months after infection. Sometimes the symptoms can even go away or come back again.” The CDC lists the official symptoms for Long COVID as follows:
- Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
- Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort (also known as “post-exertional malaise”)
- Respiratory and heart issues
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating
- Sleep problems
- Pins-and-needles feelings
- Change in smell or taste
- Depression or anxiety
- Digestive issues
- Stomach pain
- Joint or muscle pain
- Changes in menstrual cycles
Is Long COVID a disability?
In July 2021 the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services jointly published guidance on how Long COVID can be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If Long COVID symptoms are substantially limiting your major life activities, you should begin documenting your symptoms, compiling relevant medical records, and looking into which resources are available — as you may be eligible for disability benefits.
What is long-term disability insurance?
Long-term disability insurance helps provide a monthly income if you become disabled due to a covered accident or illness. This coverage can help pay credit card bills, mortgages, college tuition, and more if you’re unable to work because of a disability.
As an AOA member, you already have access to group long-term disability insurance. For details including eligibility requirements visit our long-term disability page to learn more.