In an opinion piece for Scientific American, Lasker President Claire Pomeroy argues that we need to plan for a future where millions of survivors are chronically ill.
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Even as U.S. policy makers and business leaders seek to put the COVID pandemic in the rearview mirror with the help of highly effective vaccines, a fundamental policy and planning gap is looming. Many who survive the initial viral illness suffer debilitating long-term sequelae. Unlike the common cold or even influenza, this virus causes a bewildering array of symptoms that persist long after the acute illness is resolved and can render some affected unable to resume their usual activities. As scientists and clinicians continue to delineate the “long-haul” course of COVID, policy makers and planners must anticipate and prepare for the impact of this new cause of disability, including its implications for federal and private worker’s compensation and disability insurance programs and support services.