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Long Covid: protesters outside the White House demand better care

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Protesters took to the pavement outside the White House on 19 September to demand a better deal for people affected by Long Covid, complaining that the Biden administration’s plans fell short on action and funding.

“The pandemic is over,” President Joe Biden declared the night before in a pre-recorded interview which aired on the news magazine 60 Minutes. “We still have a problem with covid,” he said. “We’re still doing a lot of work on it but the pandemic is over. If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And, so, I think it’s changing.”

But the scene outside the presidential mansion the next day belied that message. Wearing black masks and red shirts, protesters called for research, medical treatment, and social services for those with Long Covid. Around half would qualify for a diagnosis of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome. The protest was organised by #MEAction, an international network of patient advocates.

“I went undiagnosed for 15 years, because doctors are not educated about the condition,” Jennifer Nish told The BMJ. Nish, from Lubbock, Texas, said that she was inspired to help organise the protest to raise awareness. “I don’t want anyone to go through what I had to go through,” she said and called on “the White House to treat this like the emergency that it is.”

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Source: BMJ, 20 September 2022

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