The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) / News and Media / Press Releases
Disability Rights Advocates to Meet with CDC Director Following Good Morning America (GMA) Appearance; Nearly 150 Disability Organizations Release Policy Demand Letter Ahead of Meeting
Washington, D.C. – On Friday, January 7, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in an interview with Good Morning America, commented on the results of a research study. Director Walensky remarked that a disproportionate number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the study population occurred among those with four or more comorbidities, calling those patients “people who were unwell to begin with” and these results as “encouraging news”. The disability community, who represent those with four or more comorbidities who died in the study, responded in turn. The hashtag #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy, started by writer and activist Imani Barbarin, was a top trend on Twitter over the weekend.
... Ahead of the meeting, advocates sent a letter to the CDC Director from nearly 150 disability-focused organizations from around the country, representing tens of millions of disabled Americans from every state and territory. The letter, which can be read in full here, reads:
“The disability community’s faith in the government agencies responding to the pandemic has taken hit after hit with repeated policy choices that devalue disabled lives. For every step in the right direction, there have been steps backwards or actions delayed. It is necessary for the public health of our nation that the CDC and other agencies responding to the pandemic take immediate, concrete policy steps to rebuild that trust, protect disabled and high-risk people, and enact an equitable vision of pandemic recovery that centers on those communities most at risk and begins to shift long-standing systemic inequities.”