On Wednesday, the White House reported President Joe Biden had twice tested negative for Covid-19. The news was welcome but expected. When Biden first tested positive a few days ago, his vaccination and booster combined with his access to the country’s best doctors and cutting-edge treatments almost guaranteed him an uneventful course of the acute illness.
In fact, prior to his speedy recovery, the White House had reported that the president was well and that his case was “mild.” But even with his latest test results, Biden is still at risk of post-acute consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection, commonly known as long covid, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted a fifth of Covid patients now have. A study found that up to a third of those Covid outpatients who did not require hospitalization continued to report long Covid symptoms nine months after the acute phase.
Medical professionals have made it clear that the disease, whether mild or severe, is best managed by taking a break from work stress.
While there’s still a lot to learn about it, we know that insufficient rest may increase the risk of Development of long Covid, whose symptoms can be debilitating and are just as varied B. Persistent fatigue, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, anxiety, insomnia, headaches and joint pain. While we don’t fully understand the long-Covid triggers, research suggests the outbreak may be related persistent inflammation in the body.
So I’m writing with this simple request: Mr. President, please rest.
Yet the images that have surfaced of the Covid-positive president showed us exactly the opposite: a man at work and not one taking time off to treat his condition. No doubt these images were calculated to show Biden is strong and healthy, to thwart the endless age criticism he faces, to bolster the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines against extreme diseases, and to tell our enemies that the Commander-in-Chief is always still on his feet to work.
But the President sent a different message to Americans here at home, and it has a dark downside. Instead of taking time off as his illness progressed, he modeled the toxic work culture of “pushing through illness”. While this ethos may be as American as apple pie, it’s also dangerous… especially in the context of Covid.
Physicians have made it clear that the Sickness, whether mild or severe, is best treated by taking a break from work stress. dr Caitlin McAuley of the University of Southern California told the Los Angeles Times that “you really should unplug at least three to five days” after contracting the disease.
David Putrino, a physical therapist for Mount Sinai’s health system, who was also quoted in the article – which was published a few weeks before Biden’s illness broke out – said the message from top officials working during their diagnoses was “the risk of a to minimize long-term COVID and to encourage others to think, ‘If I have the virus, I can just get through it.’”
The administration should do everything in its power to keep people healthy, both long-term and short-term, by encouraging them to rest during illness. The White House should have taken this opportunity to educate the public on how to minimize the risk of long-term illness and disability from Covid, and telegraphed employers to give their workers time off to recover, regardless of their ailments . Biden also shouldn’t have toyed with the misconception that being on sick leave is a sign of weakness or fragility.
I lost my father to Covid at the beginning of the pandemic. My mum contracted Covid at the same time and two years later she is still struggling with balance and extreme fatigue, both symptoms of long Covid. Just last week, she had five doctor’s appointments in four days. Each week I host a community call for people who are long living with Covid and suffering from Covid grief and I have sat with hundreds of people who have shared their Covid stories: illness, disability, eviction, financial free fall, isolation, Suicidal ideation, hopelessness. We’re not fine.
We rely on our leaders to lead the way by taking bold action—and by modeling appropriate behavior that protects those most vulnerable among us. We need this more than ever as the government seeks to move towards a framework of personal responsibility for dealing with Covid: proposing mitigation measures based on a person’s tolerance for personal risk versus a coordinated, data-backed plan to address the Keep community transmission rates in check and respond to outbreaks by taking measures such as contact tracing, testing and masking.
This toxic idea of fighting your way through illness isn’t just bad for Americans’ health; it’s also bad for the economy. A Recent study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan Business School identified poor corporate responses to Covid as a key factor in the Great Resignation – along with inadequate policies to protect the general health and well-being of workers.
And helping employees to take sick leave is not only good for individuals, it’s good for business. Strong sick leave policies result in cost savings from greater workforce stability, increased productivity, lower healthcare costs and of course illness and disease prevention. Unfortunately, a quarter of workers in the private sector are not entitled to paid sick leave to recover from illnesses. And now our own healthcare facilities are reinforcing the urge to keep working rather than taking adequate time to recover.
Beyond the example of Biden’s business-as-usual seizure of Covid, the CDC is now encouraging people to go back to work after five days with Covid infections, even without testing negative, which is simply not enough. A growing body of evidence suggests so five days of isolation if it continues to test positive cannot stop the spread of the disease.
As we are in a phase of the pandemic where everyone is on their own, a sort of “Hunger Games” style of mitigation, I make a personal appeal to the 79-year-old Commander-in-Chief. Calm down Mr. President. Your grandchildren and all the children of America need you very much.
https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/covid-test-biden-negative-set-example-rest-rcna40258 Biden’s Covid test is negative. But he should still lead by example and rest.