Disability Advocates Demand Public Apology From CDC Director After 'Hurtful' Comments

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Disability advocates demanded a nationalist apology from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky aft she called it “encouraging news” that the bulk of COVID-19 deaths among the vaccinated were of radical with preexisting aesculapian conditions — oregon “who were unwell to statesman with,” arsenic she enactment it.

On Friday, leaders from respective disability advocacy groups held a telephone with Walensky successful which the CDC manager apologized for her “hurtful” remarks past week connected “Good Morning America.” Advocates successful crook demanded a nationalist apology from Walensky to the disablement community.

In past week’s GMA interview, Walensky described a survey of radical who had been vaccinated, saying: “The overwhelming fig of deaths, implicit 75%, occurred successful radical who had astatine slightest 4 comorbidities. So really, these are radical who were unwell to statesman with. And yes, truly encouraging quality successful the discourse of omicron… we’re truly encouraged by these results.”

People with disabilities were outraged, utilizing the hashtag connected Twitter #MyDisabledLifeIsWorthy, started by activistic Imani Barbarin, to telephone retired the remarks for having “pushed the communicative of vulnerable people’s lives being disposable” and implying that their “lives aren’t worthy protecting.”

After Friday’s call, Walensky tweeted her acknowledgment to disablement advocates for the meeting, saying she “look[s] guardant to our continued engagements to code the disparities and inequities made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The CDC’s readout of the telephone noted that Walensky had “apologized for the hurtful, yet unintentional, connection pertaining to COVID-19 deaths and comorbidities,” and committed the CDC to “regular engagements” with the disablement community.

Thank you to the disablement advocacy groups & allies for the gathering this afternoon. I look guardant to our continued engagements to code the disparities and inequities made worse by the #COVID19 pandemic.

— Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH (@CDCDirector) January 14, 2022

After gathering with Walensky, disablement advocates said connected a property telephone that the astir important substance moving guardant would beryllium for Walensky to travel up her apology with argumentation changes.

In a letter enactment retired Thursday, implicit 140 disablement advocacy groups noted that radical with disabilities and preexisting conditions person been disproportionately killed by COVID-19 and that “each of these deaths is simply a devastating nonaccomplishment to families, friends and to our broader communities.”

“The dismissal and devaluation of radical with disabilities has been our regular acquisition passim this pandemic,” the missive read.

The groups’ demands see regular, ongoing meetings betwixt CDC enactment and disablement groups, arsenic good arsenic a telephone for the CDC to halfway radical with disabilities and different communities disproportionately impacted by the microorganism successful each of its COVID-19 guidance to the public.

The coronavirus has killed implicit 840,000 radical successful the U.S. successful the past 2 years, and radical with disabilities person disproportionately faced terrible illness, hospitalization and death. With the omicron variant spreading, cases person surged crossed the state successful caller weeks.

Wendy Lu contributed reporting.

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