The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions heard from people facing the challenges of long COVID Thursday.
"Having to stop working because of my health was devastating. I wake up every morning feeling tired, nauseous and dizzy," said Rachel Beale, a long COVID patient.
"I was left to fend for myself from bed that first year, because I did not fit the profile of who was considered high risk," said Angela Meriquez Vásquez, a long COVID patient.
"Long COVID stripped away my daughter's life as she knew it," said Nicole Heim, a parent of a long COVID patient.
Traveling across the country for treatment, fighting insurance companies to pay for long COVID specialists and simply finding doctors who believe their chronic illness: These are the struggles that long COVID patients say they face. That's on top of their many symptoms.
Gabriel San Emeterio of New York works with the advocacy group Long COVID Justice.
"Even if COVID went away today — long COVID is here to stay," said San Emeterio.
He lives with myalgic encephalomyelitis (known as chronic fatigue syndrome) and long COVID — which share many symptoms, including profound pain and exhaustion, low energy levels and sensitivity to sound and light.
The patients all shared pleas for more research on treatments, more oversight of insurance companies, more education for doctors and more awareness of those suffering from chronic symptoms.
"People need job security. People need time to rest," said San Emeterio.
Sens. Ed Markey and Bernie Sanders said they want to call on insurance companies to testify next.
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