Former health officials launch alliance on COVID-19’s long-term health effects 

Former U.S. health officials launched an alliance on Wednesday that plans to advocate for research into and care for those suffering the long-term side effects of a COVID-19 infection, commonly known as “long COVID-19.”

Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt (R) and Nancy-Ann DeParle, the former deputy chief of staff for policy under former President Obama, unveiled their COVID Patient Recovery Alliance, which they plan to use to help health care professionals and policymakers address long-haul COVID-19.

DeParle and Leavitt, who also served as the HHS secretary under former President George W. Bush, began formulating the group of health care providers, researchers, patient advocates, data scientists, service providers and other experts in the fall of 2020.

Why is this important: Little is known so far about long COVID-19, which is when symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, disturbed sleep, shortness of breath, palpitations, depression, loss of taste and smell and muscle and joint pain persist four weeks or more after diagnosis and might impede one’s ability to work.

Preliminary research has estimated that between 10 percent and 30 percent of people who had COVID-19 may endure long-haul COVID-19. With more than 32 million confirmed cases in the U.S. in the past year, that could amount to millions dealing with long-term effects of the viral infection.

What the alliance calls for: The alliance aims to support collecting coordinated data and research on long COVID-19, developing models of care for health care workers to help long-hauler patients and creating private sector and federal payment models for long haulers.