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Long COVID is already having a massive impact on the health care system

Whether or not the federal emergency has ended in Washington, D.C., for those who are suffering from long COVID-19, the pandemic is far from over. 

Long COVID is what researchers call “a mass disabling event affecting numerous organs systems and individuals of any age.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says as many as 1 in 13 adults in the U.S have symptoms of long COVID that last three months or longer after contracting the virus. 

There’s a lot still to be learned about this complicated condition. Dr. Sai Parthasarathy is one of those who have become experts on it as part of Researching COVID-19 to Enhance Recovery — known as the RECOVER Initiative. The initiative was launched by the National Institutes of Health and involves a network of hubs across the country to study the issue in 1,000 participants. 

Parthasarathy is one of the initiative's principle investigators, as well as a professor of medicine at the University of Arizona. They’re now calling for more than $37 million in funding next year to fund long COVID centers of excellence going forward. 

Parthasarathy talked with The Show about the initiative and why long COVID happens to some people and not others.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.