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Author: Abigail Shaw

The Disability Community Reacts to New CDC Masking Guidance

Washington, D.C., March 18 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance on February 25th that reversed masking guidelines in areas with low rates of hospitalization, regardless of case numbers or whether individuals are vaccinated and boosted. In a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, advocates from more than one hundred national, state and local organizations expressed their deep concerns about the new guidance and its impact on disabled and marginalized populations. At the time of this publication, Director Walensky has not provided a response to the concerns stated in the joint advocacy letter.  

As the letter outlines, universal masking by the public dramatically decreases the spread of COVID-19 and is a layer of protection for everyone. Such guidelines increase safety for the most vulnerable populations, which include people with disabilities, older adults, those who are immunocompromised, and children under the age of five whom are ineligible for vaccines. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2021, a record of nearly 1.2 million adults with disabilities were added to our communities. Without policies aimed at protecting all Americans, the most vulnerable are put in a position of being responsible for their own safety from the virus.

COVID-19 Updates for People with Disabilities from the Biden-Harris Administration

Washington, D.C., February 24 – Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released a fact sheet on their work addressing the intersection of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disability community. Here is some of the key information they shared:

Ensuring Accessible Testing for All Americans

Millions of new tests have been manufactured by the National Institutes of Health’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx®) Tech Program. However, as documented by key advocates, the packaging, instructions, and design of the diagnostic devices have made it challenging for people with disabilities to use them independently. The NIH RADx® Tech Program is now reviewing elements of the kits that may be used without assistance. The Administration is actively encouraging collaboration between federal agencies and community organizations to make more tests fully accessible.