RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said lingering effects he has felt after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 last year are “not painful, they’re just weird.”
In a call with reporters Friday, Kaine described initially not feeling as if he had been infected with the virus but instead experienced “a blizzard of allergic reactions” when he and his wife, Anne Holton, Virginia’s former secretary of education, first began feeling symptoms last March.
The two-term senator and Holton did not get tested, citing the national testing shortage at the time, but later said they tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in May 2020.
Kaine said during that time last year he developed a rash that would appear and go away after roughly 15 minutes. On Friday, he explained the rash has been replaced with a tingling sensation he feels on parts of his body multiple times a day.
The Democratic senator stressed any lingering symptoms he’s feeling are not “debilitating” and probably neurological, likening it to how some patients, including Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, have reported losing their sense of smell or taste after contracting the virus.
“I’m going to state at the outset. My lingering effects are things I’m experiencing, not things I’m suffering,” Kaine told 8News on Friday. “They’re not debilitating, they don’t keep me from work.”
Kaine noted several people who have had the virus are dealing with far more serious health concerns, including chronic respiratory and heart issues. He said this highlights the lasting health risks COVID-19 poises and the need to address the impact it will have even after people are vaccinated.
“And for many people it’s getting in their way in a significant degree and we have to both do the research through the NIH to kind of figure out the long effect, but we also have to have a health care system that can deal with people who have consequences that are significant,” Kaine added.
Kaine initially shared his experience during Thursday’s Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing with the nation’s top federal officials on the pandemic.