Sen. Tim Kaine Still Has ‘Weird Neurological Symptoms’ from COVID a Year Later

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Susan Walsh/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Sen. Tim Kaine

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said he is still feeling the effects from COVID-19 nearly a year after falling ill with the virus.

Kaine, 63, has "weird, neurological symptoms" that he attributes to his bout with the coronavirus.

The Virginia lawmaker made the revelation about his health Thursday during a hearing with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, of which he's a member.

"I have these weird, neurological symptoms one year later," Kaine said during the hearing. "They're not debilitating, they're not painful, but they're weird and they're 24/7."

"Many people have symptoms that are more serious," the 2016 Democratic vice-presidential candidate continued, naming symptoms like "heart impairment, respiratory impairment, impairment of mental functioning, fatigue challenges."

There have been more than 29.6 million confirmed cases in the U.S. of the coronavirus, according to a New York Times tracker. At least 539,207 people in the country have died.

Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in May, according to The Washington Post. The lawmaker said they both had flu-like symptoms around late March last year.

Kaine mentioned his lingering symptoms from the virus on Thursday, while he was asking health officials for guidance on how the government should be thinking about long-term effects from COVID-19.

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Sarah Silbiger/Getty Sen. Tim Kaine

Win McNamee/Getty Sen. Tim Kaine

"It just shows how tricky this virus is," Kaine said. "And it also suggests that the long-term consequence in our health system is probably a lot bigger than we're thinking of right now."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, told Kaine what he was describing was "not imaginary" and a "real phenomenon."

Fauci, 80, said federal health agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are currently studying to learn more about the virus' long-term effects.

Those studies include "cohorts of tens of thousands of people," Fauci told the Senate committee.

But at the moment, Fauci says federal health officials "don't know what the mechanisms" of those lingering symptoms are just yet.

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"You mentioned a weird neurological symptom, we're not really quite sure what that is," Fauci told the senator.

Fauci said agencies like the CDC and NIH — of which he is a director — are putting together the "large cohort studies" to find out "what the incidence of it is, what the variability, what the range of organ system dysfunctions are, and what the underlying pathogenic mechanism is."

"It's really very puzzling, senator," Fauci said, continuing, "It's people who recover, have the virus no longer there, and have a persistent of things like chronic fatigue, muscle aches, temperature dysregulation, funny kind of neurological issues that they can't explain."

"That's what we're really focusing on," Fauci said. "We are looking at that seriously."

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