MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Coping with the long-term effects of COVID-19
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is ordered as follows:
Division 1. Politics. My administration has made battling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and guiding the nation through the worst public health crisis in more than a century our top priority. When I came to power, COVID-19 was wreaking havoc on our country – shutting down our businesses, keeping our children out of school, and forcing us into self-isolation. Today, America has the tools to protect itself against COVID-19 and to dramatically reduce its risk. We are heading towards a future in which COVID-19 does not disrupt our daily lives and is something we prevent, protect and treat.
As we chart the way forward, we remember the more than 950,000 people in the United States lost to COVID-19. They were beloved parents, grandparents, children, siblings, spouses, neighbors and friends. More than 200,000 children in the United States have lost a parent or caregiver to the disease. Every soul is irreplaceable, and the families and communities left behind are still reeling from profound loss. Many families and communities have already received support from federal programs that help them deal with the loss they have suffered. As we move forward, we are committed to ensuring that families and communities can access these support programs and connect to the resources they may need to help them heal, be healthy and well. -to be.
At the same time, many of our family members, neighbors and friends continue to experience the long-term negative effects of COVID-19. Many people report debilitating and lasting effects from being infected with COVID-19, often referred to as “long COVID”. These symptoms can occur in anyone who has had COVID-19, including people of all ages, races, genders and ethnicities; people with or without disabilities; people with or without underlying health conditions; and individuals, whether or not they had initial symptoms. Long-term COVID sufferers report new or recurring symptoms, which may include anxiety and depression, fatigue, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, heart palpitations, trouble sleeping, chest pain and joints, headaches and other symptoms. These symptoms may persist long after the acute COVID-19 infection has resolved. Even young and healthy people have reported long COVID symptoms that last for several months. These symptoms can affect individuals’ ability to work, carry out daily activities, participate in educational activities, and participate in their communities. Our world-class research and public health organizations have begun the difficult work of understanding these new conditions, their causes, and potential prevention and treatment options. Our health care and support programs help meet the needs of people experiencing the lasting effects of COVID-19. To organize the federal government’s response, departments and executive agencies (agencies) must work together to use federal government expertise, resources and benefit programs to ensure that we accelerate scientific progress and provide people with the support and the services they need.
Additionally, the American public is grappling with a mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic. Too many people have felt the effects of social isolation, illness, economic insecurity, increased caregiver burden and bereavement. My administration has made significant investments in mental health and in the prevention, treatment, and recovery support of substance use disorders for the American public, including expanding access to community behavioral health services. . We are committed to advancing these behavioral health efforts to better identify the impacts of the pandemic on mental health, substance use and well-being, and to taking action to address these impacts for the people we serve. serve.
Our nation can continue to protect the public — and spare countless families the deepest pain imaginable — if everyone does their part. Today, we have many tools to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19 – from vaccines to tests, treatments, masks, and more. My Administration recognizes the toll of this pandemic on the American public and pledges to redouble our efforts to help the American people deal with the long-term effects of COVID-19 on their lives and on society.
Second. 2. Organizing the whole-of-government response to the long-term effects of COVID-19. (a) The Secretary of Health and Human Services (the Secretary) coordinates the government-wide response to the long-term effects of COVID-19. My administration will harness the full potential of the federal government, in coordination with public and private sector partners, to mount a comprehensive and effective response. The Secretary reports on coordination efforts to the COVID-19 Response Coordinator and Advisor to the President and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy.
(b) Heads of agencies shall assist and provide information to the Secretary, in accordance with applicable law, to the extent necessary for the performance of the duties of the Secretary described in paragraph (a) of this section.
(c) In carrying out the functions described in paragraph (a) of this section, the Secretary shall seek information from relevant experts, organizations and non-governmental stakeholders, including persons directly affected by the long-term effects of COVID-19. The Secretary should consider using all available legal authorities, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to assist in gathering relevant information, including a waiver under 42 USC 247d(f).
Second. 3. Report on the long-term effects of COVID-19. The Secretary, supported within the Department of Health and Human Services by the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, will issue a public report within 120 days of the date of this memorandum outlining services and support mechanisms across agencies to help the American public deal with the profound and long-term effects of COVID-19. The report should outline federal government services to support those struggling with prolonged COVID, individuals and families experiencing loss due to COVID-19, and anyone struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse as a result of this pandemic. The report should also specifically address the long-term effects of COVID-19 on underserved communities and efforts to address disparities in the availability and uptake of services and support to these communities.
Second. 4. Long COVID National Research Action Plan. (a) Coordinated efforts across the public and private sectors are needed to advance advances in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and service delivery for people with long-term COVID. The Secretary, supported by the Assistant Secretary for Health and in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Energy and Secretary of Veterans Affairs, will coordinate a government-wide effort to develop the first-ever interagency national long-COVID research program, to be reflected in a national research action plan. The National Research Action Plan will build on ongoing efforts across the federal government, including the landmark RECOVER initiative implemented by the National Institutes of Health. The Secretary will publish the jointly developed National Research Action Plan within 120 days of the date of this memorandum.
(b) The national research action plan should build on existing research efforts and include strategies for:
(i) help measure and characterize long-term COVID in children and adults, including with respect to its frequency, severity, duration, risk factors, and trends over time;
(ii) support the development of long COVID prevalence and incidence estimates disaggregated by demographic groups and symptoms;
(iii) better understand the epidemiology, disease course, risk factors and efficacy of vaccines in preventing long COVID;
(iv) advance our understanding of the health and socio-economic burdens on those affected by the long COVID, including among different racial and ethnic groups, pregnant women, and people with underlying disabilities;
(v) foster the development of new treatments and models of care for long COVID based on a better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus;
(vi) inform decisions related to high quality support, services and interventions during an extended period of COVID;
(vii) improve data sharing between agencies and academic and industry researchers on long COVID, to the extent permitted by law; and
(viii) specifically consider the effect of the pandemic on underserved communities and rural populations.
Second. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this memorandum should be construed as compromising or otherwise affecting:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or its head; Where
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum will be implemented in accordance with applicable law and subject to the availability of funds.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to create and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies or entities, officers, employees , or agents, or any other person.
(d) The Secretary is authorized and instructed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.