Senate Joint Informational Hearing Highlights Long-Term Costs and Consequences of COVID-19 on Californians

Research and prevention with equity lens critical to preparing and mitigating Long COVID impacts

March 9, 2022

SACRAMENTO – Today, Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), Chair of the Senate’s Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response, and Senator Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), Chair of the Senate’s Health Committee, held a joint-informational hearing with experts and the public on the devastating reach and impact of “Post COVID Syndrome”, also known as Long COVID, the disproportionate impact it has had on California’s diverse communities, and the ongoing research and availability of resources to serve Californians impacted.

State Senator Josh Newman said, “In the first two years of this unprecedented public health emergency, the overall focus of public health policies has understandably been geared toward containing the pandemic and addressing its profound impacts. Now, as the state shifts to this next phase of pandemic management, post-Omicron, we must start to give rigorous attention to understanding and treating long COVID in the months and years to come.”

State Senator Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician said, “COVID-19 has only been with us for a little over two years, so definitive data on the long-term effects of COVID infection is still limited. But what scientists have already learned indicates that the long-term burden of COVID infection is likely to be very large for both families and society, affecting millions of Californians. Thus, we should make every effort to prevent people, especially children, from being infected and re-infected by this very serious disease.”

Long COVID is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as COVID-19 symptoms which last four or more weeks after an initial COVID-19 infection. Symptoms can include post-infection persistence of fatigue, headaches, trouble breathing, and exhaustion, or new, ongoing long-term health problems including chronic fatigue, brain fog, or cardiovascular and multi-organ effects even in people who did not have COVID-19 symptoms in the days and weeks after initial infection.

While the exact number of people who develop Long COVID after infection is unknown, most studies estimate at a minimum 10% of COVID-19 cases may experience persistent symptoms. Researchers and clinicians are leveraging federal and state resources to better understand the long-term impacts of COVID-19 infection and develop treatment and rehabilitation protocols to serve the millions of potentially impacted Californians.

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