Oct 19, 2021 - Health

Virginia governor has had long COVID for more than a year

Gov. Ralph Northam
Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam still has long COVID-19 symptoms more than a year after his initial infection, he said in an interview with the Virginian-Pilot.

Why it matters: The Democratic governor is one of millions of Americans suffering from symptoms of long COVID, which could have serious implications for employers and social programs if enough people can no longer work because of it, per Axios' Caitlin Owens.

Context: Long COVID is a term used to describe people who have COVID symptoms for longer than four weeks after their initial diagnosis, per Axios' Marisa Fernandez.

Flashback: Northam, who tested positive for COVID-19 in September 2020, said in May that he had not recovered his sense of smell or taste.

Details: The governor said that his symptoms morphed into experiences of parosmia, a condition where things smell and taste different, and phantosmia, episodes of smelling something that isn't there.

  • A glass of lemonade now tastes like gasoline, Northam told the Virginian-Pilot.

What he's saying: “I’m 62, and I can deal with this, [but] why take a chance, if you’re 15 or 20 years old or whatever age, of having symptoms that may affect you for the rest of your life?” Northam said.

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