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Lackey, who works in construction, was “like the Energizer bunny” before the illness left him chronically exhausted, said Renaud.
Today, as they continue to struggle with the after-affects of COVID-19, the Rockland couple is facing a new crisis. Unable to work and with benefits running out, the COVID long-haulers are forced to consider selling the house they purchased just 18 months ago.
By some estimates, there are tens of thousands of Canadians who suffer lingering after-effects from COVID-19. In some cases, they never knew they were initially infected, or had a mild infection, but suffer ongoing long-term symptoms. Sometimes, as with Renaud and Lackey, the symptoms are severe enough to prevent them from functioning the way they did before the illness.
Renaud says the lack of government support for people in her situation is creating a socioeconomic crisis “and no one is paying attention.”
Renaud, 48, has been unable to return to work at her job in communications at the Montfort Foundation in Ottawa for more than a few days since she became sick last spring. Her husband has also tried to return to work, but has been unable to do so.
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Renaud’s short-term disability benefits have run out, and her long-term disability claim was recently turned down by her insurance company. She is now suing.
When her EI benefits come to an end, Renaud will be left with no income and no other form of support.
“And I am not alone. Thousands of Canadian long-haulers are now facing the same reality,” she said.
“We remain severely debilitated and anyone contracting the virus is at risk of losing a lot more than their health.”
Brannen said there is a role for governments to put more resources into studying and treating long-haul COVID. He said he fears people like Renaud and the many others in similar situations will be forgotten once the majority of people have been immunized and life begins to return to normal after the pandemic.
“My real worry is that this is going to be a forgotten cohort of people whose symptoms are bizarre and very disabling. When everyone moves on, I fear this cohort is going to be left dealing with the fallout.”
Renaud said there should be better financial support for people like her who are unable to work and whose benefits are running out.
“I know a lot of different (government) programs have been put in place to support workers and people who have lost their jobs. The only group that seems to be left out are the long-haulers who are sick for more than 15 weeks.”
Canadian researchers are studying the long-haul phenomenon, but Renaud said Canada is behind some other countries in recognizing it and supporting patients. In the UK, there are dozens of post-COVID care clinics. Late last year, the UK produced official guidelines for the management of long COVID.
This content was originally published here.