June 16th, 2022
NDP calls for national long COVID strategy
OTTAWA – Today, NDP Health Critic Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway) called on the federal government to immediately implement a national long COVID strategy. Seroprevalence surveys from Canadian Blood Services indicate that over 40 per cent of Canadians have been infected with COVID-19, and long-haul symptoms could impact millions of people over the coming years.
“Canadians are concerned that, in the aftermath of the Omicron wave, long COVID cases are spiking across the country,” said Davies. “Experts are warning that this could create huge issues for health care systems and for Canadians living with these long-term symptoms. Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer has cautioned that the impact is going to be substantial, yet long COVID has been largely ignored in federal public health policy to date. The federal government must take action to protect Canadians by bringing in a national long COVID strategy.”
Early reports from the World Health Organization showed 10 to 20 per cent of people infected with COVID-19 would go on to have symptoms of long COVID. Last month, Dr. Theresa Tam noted that emerging research indicates it could be as many as half.
“All Canadians and policy makers need to be aware of the complex issues of long COVID, how it negatively affects the health and livelihoods of Canadians and the impacts it has on the economy,” said Susie Goulding, founder of COVID Long-Haulers Support Group Canada. “Federal, provincial and territorial governments need to coordinate efforts to create an effective national strategy.”
To date, relatively little is known about long COVID, also known as post-acute COVID-19 syndrome. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there are more than 100 symptoms associated with the condition. Common symptoms include fatigue, respiratory issues, and cognitive problems.
The NDP is calling for substantial federal investments in long COVID research, a national long COVID registry, and coordinated support for interdisciplinary rehabilitation clinics across the country to help long COVID patients.