Protest at White House to Tell President Biden “Pandemic Is NOT Over”

People lying on the sidewalk in front of the white house
Protesters are calling for President Biden to declare ME/CFS and Long COVID a National Emergency

Protesters Lay Down on White House Sidewalk to Tell President Biden 

“Pandemic Is NOT Over.”

 
Protesters disabled by Long COVID and myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) lay down on the White House sidewalk today risking arrest to tell President Biden that the pandemic is not over, and that millions are being disabled from post-viral disease, including Long COVID and ME/CFS. 
 
  • Join our Post Protest Roundtable Discussion at 7 p.m. ET TODAY to hear activists discuss the protest & our demands: WATCH LIVE on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MEActNet
Protesters, many in wheelchairs or using walking aids, then marched over to 17th Street to block traffic and call on President Biden to declare Long COVID and ME/CFS a national emergency. More than 9.2K tuned in to watch the livestream of the protest happening on Twitter. 
 
(Video credit to John Zangas/DCMediaGroup.
The protesters – most of them sick with ME/CFS and/or Long COVID – struggled to go on as their symptoms worsened with the exertion of chanting, walking and being in the heat. They will now spend days “crashed” in bed with worsened symptoms attempting to recover from the hours they spent making their voices heard. 
 
“We are sick and disabled with ME/CFS and Long COVID but we are here today, putting our bodies on the line, to tell President Biden that the pandemic is not over, that millions of us are being disabled from post-viral disease, and we need urgent action from our government,” said Ben HsuBorger, a person with ME/CFS and #MEAction Advocacy Director. “We are calling on President Biden to declare ME/CFS and Long COVID a national emergency.”  
 
“COVID death and disability continues to heavily impact Black, Latine, Indigenous and low-income communities. We are not in “pretty good shape,” and we will not forget that President Biden is throwing us away with his denial of the pandemic,” said Claudia Carrera, a person with ME/CFS and #MEAction activist.  
 
The CDC estimates that 1 in 5 Americans are experiencing Long COVID, and as many as 12 million Americans are developing the complex, chronic disease of ME/CFS following COVID-19. Studies show that nearly half of the Long COVID community is meeting the criteria for the complex, chronic disease of ME/CFS, meaning as many as 12 million people are already developing ME/CFS following COVID-19. 
 
ME/CFS often follows a viral infection, and is a highly debilitating disease, leaving 75 percent unable to work and 25 percent bedbound. Recovery from ME/CFS is rare. We know that this crisis has no end in sight. 
 
“The HIV crisis did not go away when it was ignored and trivialized. The successful national effort to bring research, treatment, care and support to people living with HIV happened because those most affected refused to stay silent,” said Gabriel San Emeterio, Cofounder of Strategies for High Impact (S4HI) and the Network for Long COVID Justice. “Those of us disabled by pandemics are not afraid to tell the truth, and we will not be sidelined by callous and inaccurate political calculations. We are never going to be silenced about the truths of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
 
The protesters are demanding emergency measures to address COVID-19, Long COVID and ME/CFS, including comprehensive research, medical and public education, access to treatments and economic support for those affected. 
 
They also demand the use of proven prevention methods for COVID-19, including high quality masks in indoor public settings, improved building ventilation, and sustained federal funding for vaccination and testing. 
 
“The President’s misstatements directly jeopardize the lives of millions who remain at high risk of mortality and further disability from COVID and Long COVID, and the legions of formerly healthy people who have joined and will join our ranks due to this ongoing pandemic,” said JD Davids of MEAction and the Network for Long COVID Justice.
 
“Here’s the hard truth: COVID-19 rates remain high, and even asymptomatic or mild infections among the vaccinated can lead to Long COVID,” explained Therese Russo, #MEAction New York State Leader. “Why is it our job — the ones who risk significant medical setbacks by traveling here today — to tell the truth to the American people?”
 
#MEAction organized the protest, and was joined by Patient Led Research CollaborativeNetwork for Long COVID JusticeSolve METight Lipped and React19. Organizations supporting the protest virtually include: Covid-19 Longhauler Advocacy Project, Black COVID-19 Survivors Support Group and Body Politic.  
 
We are Demanding: 
 
  • Biden Administration declares Long COVID & ME/CFS a national emergency.
 
  • A nationwide public health education campaign on ME/CFS, including how to diagnose, prevent and manage it.
 
  • Immediate education of healthcare providers on how to diagnose, and treat ME/CFS, and the associated infection-associated chronic diseases of dysautonomia, and mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). The majority of clinicians have not been adequately taught or equipped to diagnose or treat these post-viral conditions. 
 
  • Economic support of people with Long COVID and ME/CFS, including ending the rejection cycle for social security disability, providing emergency and ongoing housing resources and financial assistance. 
 
  • Robust resources to rapidly advance research and treatment for ME/CFS. ME/CFS remains one of the most underfunded diseases in the NIH’s portfolio despite the millions of people affected and the highly debilitating nature of the disease. 
  • ME/CFS knowledge and expertise at the forefront of our government’s response. People with ME/CFS, clinicians and researchers in the field have decades of experience living, treating and researching this disease. We should be leading the efforts to study, treat, and educate on Long COVID in order to most quickly and effectively bring treatment relief to millions. 
About #MEAction: 
#MEAction is building a global movement to fight for recognition, education, and research for ME/CFS. We have helped organize hundreds of demonstrations for ME/CFS across the world as part of our #MillionsMissing campaign
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