Kaine describes ’24/7′ tingling sensation from long COVID-19
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) detailed the ongoing COVID-19 symptoms he continues to experience two years after becoming infected, during an interview with The Washington Post published this week.
“I tell people it feels like all my nerves have had like five cups of coffee,” Kaine told the Post, describing it as a “24/7” tingling sensation.
Kaine first developed flu-like symptoms in March 2020. Though COVID-19 screenings were not available at the time, the Virginia senator later tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in May, indicating a prior infection. Most of his symptoms were mild, but Kaine said his nerve tingling never stopped.
After getting an MRI, a doctor told Kaine that everything seemed fine.
“I know how my body felt before I got COVID, I know how it felt when I got COVID, and it’s not gone back to where it was before,” he said. “That gives me an understanding for people who talk about these long COVID symptoms.”
On Wednesday, Kaine introduced a bill with fellow Democratic Sens. Ed Markey (Mass.) and Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) aimed at helping people who live with “long COVID” symptoms.
“This legislation will help improve our understanding of and response to long COVID by expanding resources for those dealing with the long-term impacts of the virus,” Kaine said when announcing the bill. “As a member of the Senate [Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions] Committee, I will continue working to ensure greater access to critical tools to keep our communities healthy and safe.”
The bill, called the CARE for Long COVID Act, would centralize information on long COVID-19 and increase public awareness of the condition as well as possible treatments.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes long COVID-19 as the ongoing experience of coronavirus symptoms for four or more weeks after initial infection. According to the agency, the condition can occur in people who did not have symptoms after their initial infection.
Symptoms of long COVID-19 can include fatigue, fever, heart palpitations, brain fog or a change in senses such as smell and taste. As the Post noted, millions of COVID-19 recoverees may experience lasting symptoms.
“That’s going to put a burden on our health-care system,” Kaine told the newspaper. “It’s also going to require some research and some understanding, compassion, for people dealing with these symptoms — adjustments and accommodations in the workplace. There’s going to be a lot of consequences of this.”