For Immediate Release: April 19, 2023
Contact: Emily Voorde at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-286-9733
AAPD’s Statement on the End of the COVID-19 National Emergency
WASHINGTON, DC – The American Association of People with Disabilities is disappointed by President Biden’s decision to end the COVID-19 National Emergency. This action comes just a month before the Biden Administration plans to end the Public Health Emergency.
For disabled and aging Americans, COVID-19 is far from over. COVID-19 has not only already killed 1.1 million people in the U.S., it remains a leading cause of death nation-wide that continues to kill people with disabilities and older adults at higher rates. The pandemic is also a historic ‘mass disabling event’ in which more than 19 million Americans have been disabled in some way by Long COVID.
Many people with disabilities remain unable to access employment, community, and medical care because of diminished or non-existent COVID-19 precautions. Ending the COVID-19 National Emergency further perpetuates the notion that COVID-19 is no longer a threat despite evidence that indicates otherwise. We worry about the impact this will have on people and systems that have benefitted from the flexibility established by the COVID-19 national emergency. For example, the end of the National Emergency will make it harder for people struggling to make ends meet to stay in their homes. It will also make it harder for disabled veterans to access home and community based services. We were glad to see the Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights issue a letter to state health officials reminding them of their federal civil rights obligations to ensure language access and effective communication for limited english proficient individuals and people with disabilities during the unwinding of continuous Medicaid enrollment so that eligible people are not denied access to needed health coverage because of administrative barriers .
Maria Town, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, said:
“The abrupt end of the National Emergency is the first step towards the elimination of resources and mitigation efforts for those who are still impacted by COVID-19. We are deeply frustrated and disappointed by the Administration’s ongoing rejection of the continued toll of COVID-19 and the long term consequences, particularly on people with disabilities, aging Americans, and communities of color. There have been many improvements to service delivery systems as well as federal and state programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have also seen improvements in the deployment of resources to keep communities connected and protect public health. We strongly encourage Biden Administration officials and Congress to do everything in their power to prevent further harm from the continued COVID-19 pandemic and from other disasters and emergencies our nation is sure to face in the future.”