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Newsletter - July 2022
Andrew Wylam, Esq.
Andrew Wylam, Esq.
President, Pandemic Patients
Message from the President:
The scale of the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented, as are the formidable obstacles it has created for every single American. The pandemic has upended our notions of normalcy, it has fundamentally disrupted our relationship with the workplace, and it has left ruinous physical and emotional scars on everything it has touched. No one has been spared from the pandemic’s influence, and the dangers it presents continue to escalate and evolve.

In March 2020, we took shelter to avoid the unknowable dangers of the highly contagious coronavirus. Over two years later, we have learned that the threat of COVID-19 endures long after a person recovers from acute infection as a significant percent of patients continue to experience debilitating symptoms for months or years following their initial infection. “Long COVID” has become a household name, and millions of Americans have already been disabled by this condition. Concurrently, new variants of COVID-19 have mutated to become much more transmissible, which has caused waves of infection to wash over the country. Indeed, the personal and societal impacts of COVID-19 have grown exponentially since the virus first emerged.

We founded Pandemic Patients in May 2021 with the goal of relieving the harm caused by COVID-19. Since that time, we have broadened the scope of our efforts to meet the challenges before us, which now includes a specific focus on long COVID. We believe that the most impactful strategy to address long COVID is to prevent as many COVID-19 infections as possible.

We are fully engaged in efforts to address COVID-19 on multiple fronts. To prevent COVID-19 infections, Pandemic Patients publishes educational resources to raise awareness about COVID-19 and preventive measures that can be taken to avoid being exposed to the virus and spreading it to others, including a Vaccine Eligibility Guide for the available COVID-19 vaccines. For individuals who have recently been exposed to COVID-19, we provide information about the available treatment options, guidance on recovering at home and when to seek emergency medical care, and information about workplace disability benefits that are available to them during their period of illness. For individuals who have recovered from COVID-19, Pandemic Patients publishes educational information about long COVID and the heightened long-term health risks they face following their COVID-19 infection. We make this content freely available to the public and thousands of people access it each month.

I’m excited to share our most recent progress with you in today’s newsletter!
Pandemic Legal Assistance Network (PLAN)
Pandemic Legal Assistance Network (PLAN)
COVID-19 has created diverse legal issues that are symptomatic of the many ways the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted American society. From family law and child custody issues to employment law and workplace disability issues, patients and survivors of COVID-19 are experiencing significant need for skilled legal aid. To address this issue, Pandemic Patients is launching the Pandemic Legal Assistance Network, or PLAN.

Do you need help with legal issues related to COVID-19? PLAN is a national network of attorneys who have agreed to volunteer their time and talent to assist patients and survivors of COVID-19 on a pro bono basis.

If you are a patient or survivor of COVID-19 who needs legal assistance, you can apply to participate in the program HERE. If you are an attorney who is interested in volunteering, you can enroll in the program HERE.

Assistance available through PLAN is limited by the number of attorneys who are participating in the legal assistance network. You may be placed on a waiting list while Pandemic Patients locates an attorney in your state who can assist you.

COVID-19 Advocacy Center
COVID-19 Advocacy Center
Have you wanted to engage with policymakers about COVID-19, but don’t know how or where to start? We’re excited to announce the launch of our COVID-19 Advocacy Center, which is where our advocacy work will be featured moving forward.

The COVID-19 Advocacy Center provides guidance for individuals who want to take an active role in pushing for change among the state legislatures and Congress. It also includes information about current and upcoming advocacy opportunities across the country, with step-by-step instructions on how to participate.

The COVID-19 Advocacy Center is updated regularly, so be sure to watch for emails from us when new opportunities are posted. You can subscribe to our mailing list HERE. Refer to the Advocacy Updates section below for more information on ways you can get involved today!

Advocacy Updates
CA AB 2098

On June 27, 2022, the California Senate Standing Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development held a hearing on CA AB 2098, which would subject physicians and surgeons to discipline by the California medical boards if they spread misinformation about COVID-19. Pandemic Patients provided testimony to the committee in support of this legislation and spoke in support of the bill during the hearing. Ultimately, the committee passed the bill with a 9-4 vote, and the bill has advanced to the California Senate Appropriations Committee, which will hold a hearing on August 1, 2022. If this committee advances AB 2098, it will head to the California Senate floor for a final vote. Review our testimony below to learn more about this issue and why we chose to support this legislation.


Pandemic Patients Submits Testimony in Support of CA AB 2098,” June 20, 2022

Future updates about CA AB 2098 will be available through our COVID-19 Advocacy Center.

U.S. Senate Long COVID Hearing

The U.S. House of Representatives has held several hearings on long COVID, but the U.S. Senate has neglected to give this issue the attention it deserves. Pandemic Patients has requested that the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee hold a hearing on long COVID to study the personal and economic impacts of this condition. However, the committee still has not acted. We encourage members of the public to contact their Senators to encourage the HELP Committee to hold this hearing. Senators who are members of this committee will have greater influence over the committee’s activities. If your Senator is a member of the HELP Committee, your engagement with them on this issue is critical. A list of the HELP Committee’s Members can be found HERE.

Additional information about this opportunity, including contact details and sample language you can use when reaching out to your Senator, is available through our COVID-19 Advocacy Center.

Your Questions, Answered

Pandemic Patients maintains an open-door policy when it comes to fielding questions about COVID-19. Below, we’re featuring two questions that we received from the public and the answers we provided. If you have a question about COVID-19, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Questions can also be submitted through the form on the bottom of our FAQ page.

 

P.M. Asked: Can I Negotiate Remote Work as a Condition of Employment if I am Immunocompromised?” May 20, 2022

 

N.G. Asked: Can My Employment be Terminated While I am on Disability Leave for Long COVID?” July 2, 2022

Press Hits

We’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to discuss issues related to COVID-19 and long COVID with journalists to help raise awareness about these topics and share our work with the public. Below are two articles that Pandemic Patients was mentioned in, and one opinion piece that we published.

 

Pandemic Patients

Opinion: We Are Not Treating Long COVID With the Urgency It Deserves

May 18, 2022

 

PolicyGenius

44% of Americans aren't financially prepared for long COVID

May 24, 2022

 

American Public Health Association

Long COVID creating new challenges for public health: Problems linger after infection fades

The Nation’s Health, June 2022 Issue

Events
Long COVID Families
Long COVID Families, a non-profit organization that works to support caregivers, children, and individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19, is conducting a virtual Back-to-School advocacy event during the week of August 8, 2022. More information about this event can be found HERE. On August 11, 2022, the President of Pandemic Patients, Andrew Wylam, Esq. will deliver a presentation about how schools can support teachers with long COVID.
Health Care Awareness Month

Did you know that August is Health Care Awareness Month? This event was created to raise awareness about the work that is being done to improve the U.S. health care system. This year, the event will feature panel discussions, advocacy training, informational sessions, and more. During this event, the President of Pandemic Patients, Andrew Wylam, Esq. will be delivering a presentation about disability advocacy. Follow the event on Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest developments.

Endnote

The work of Pandemic Patients is supported by volunteers and charitable donations from the public. By contributing today, you can help us achieve our mission of relieving the harm caused by COVID-19 and Post-COVID Conditions. CLICK HERE to donate to Pandemic Patients. Our important work would not be possible without your support.
 

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