White House advisor Andy Slavitt revealed his son is battling long COVID, as he warned young people to take the virus seriously

Andy Slavitt
  • White House advisor Andy Slavitt said Tuesday that his son has long COVID-19 symptoms six months after recovering.
  • Researchers estimate that 10% of COVID-19 survivors have long-term symptoms.
  • Experts say this is a key reason why young people should get vaccinated.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Andy Slavitt, a top White House healthcare advisor, told a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday that his son is suffering from numerous long COVID symptoms.

“I want to reveal something personal, with permission, that underscores their importance. Last fall, one of my sons contracted COVID-19. Unfortunately, he is one of the many Americans battling long-term symptoms,” Slavitt said at the briefing.

Although Slavitt said his son was “in the prime of his life” when infected, he’s suffering from symptoms six months later. “He still suffers from tachycardia [a fast heart rate], shortness of breath, and ongoing and frequent flu-like symptoms. His hands are cold to the touch.”

Researchers estimate that 10% of COVID-19 survivors have post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, otherwise known as long COVID. These patients experience symptoms like fatigue, difficulty thinking, loss of taste or smell, or depression or anxiety, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Slavitt urged young people to get vaccinated

Throughout the pandemic, young people haven’t been as hard-hit by the virus as adults, who have been hospitalized and died at much higher rates, according to the CDC.

However, they play a role in transmitting COVID-19, especially if they have an asymptomatic infection. And even after a mild case, they are not immune to suffering long-term symptoms, like Slavitt’s son.

Slavitt shared his son’s story to encourage young people to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I know it’s easy when you’re young to imagine that these things don’t affect you. A vaccine may feel unnecessary. You feel healthy. You know people who have had COVID and are doing all right,” Slavitt said.

Dr. Syra Madad, an infectious disease epidemiologist at NYC Health + Hospitals, previously told Insider there’s still a lot of unknowns about how COVID-19 affects us long-term.

“There’s an impact of long COVID that we are still understanding. So don’t put yourself in that situation,” Madad said, recommending vaccinations to avoid possible long-hauler effects from the virus.

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