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President Biden speaking in Arlington, Virginia, on July 23. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Americans experiencing long-term symptoms of COVID-19 may qualify for federal disability resources and must receive accommodations, the White House announced Monday.

Driving the news: The Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services released new guidance that categorizes "long COVID" as a physical or mental impairment, entitling people with the illness to discrimination protections under the American Disabilities Act.

How it works: Anyone who had COVID-19 could develop long-term symptoms, even if the initial illness was mild, according to the HHS.

  • People can experience symptoms of long COVID months after first being infected with the virus.
  • Symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, chest pain, loss of taste or smell and joint or muscle pain.

Yes, but: The HHS said long COVID is not always a disability. "An individualized assessment is necessary to determine whether a person's long COVID condition or any of its symptoms substantially limits a major life activity," the agency said in its guidance.

What they're saying: "Many Americans who seemingly recover from the virus still face lingering challenges, like breathing problems, brain fog, chronic pain and fatigue," President Biden said Monday during an event to mark the 31st anniversary of the ADA.

  • "These conditions can sometimes rise to the level of a disability. So, we're bringing agencies together to make sure Americans with long COVID, who have a disability, have access to the rights and resources that are due under the Disability Act," the president added.

Worth noting: The Department of Education will also provide information on schools' responsibilities for adapting services to students for whom long COVID is a disability, the White House said.

The big picture: A study last month from FAIR Health found that about 23% of COVID-19 patients have developed at least one "persistent or new" medical condition more than four weeks after their initial diagnosis.

  • The American Medical Association's House of Delegates, the top physician's group in the U.S., last month called for policies to better diagnose and treat long-haul COVID-19, and endorsed guidelines for guiding any future vaccine mandates and credentials.

Go deeper: NIH to study long COVID in kids

Go deeper

22 hours ago - Health

1 in 500 Americans has died of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: CDC and U.S. Census Bureau; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The U.S. has reached a grim pandemic milestone: More than 1 in 500 Americans has died of COVID-19, according to the latest available data.

Why it matters: The rising death toll highlights the continued effects of the Delta variant and the ongoing struggle to get Americans vaccinated.

By the numbers: The total number of COVID-19 deaths recorded in the United States is 665,496 as of 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, according to reporting by Johns Hopkins University.

  • 30.1% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. involved individuals ages 85 and older as of Wednesday, despite only making up 2% of cases and an equal portion of the population.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Los Angeles County to require vaccination proof at indoor bars — France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers without pay — Moderna suggests booster shots, citing clinical data.
  2. Health: 1 in 500 Americans has died — Cases are falling, but deaths are rising — Study: Gaps in data on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders alarming amid COVID.
  3. Politics: Gottlieb says CDC hampered U.S. response — 26 states have limited state or local officials' public health powers — Axios-Ipsos poll: 60% of voters back Biden vaccine mandates.
  4. Education: Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap — Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools — Massachusetts activates National Guard to help with school transportation.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
18 hours ago - Health

Study: Gaps in data on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders alarming amid COVID

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are one of the fastest-growing populations, yet data collection on the community at the federal and state levels remains "virtually nonexistent," according to a new study published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law.

Why it matters: In 1997, the Office of Management and Budget mandated the disaggregation of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander data from the broader "Asian" category. Yet two decades later, over 30% of federal data sources fail to provide disaggregated NHPI data, a gap that's more pressing than ever due to the pandemic, researchers say.