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Airlines have lifted mask mandates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that most Americans no longer need to social distance or quarantine. Schools and employers are doing away with remote options and other accommodations for students and workers. In several states, expanded vote-by-mail access is being stripped away.
Meanwhile, many Americans with chronic illness or disabilities — whose numbers have grown due to long COVID — feel they’ve been left behind, discarded as an acceptable consequence of the return to “normal.”
We asked 11 disability rights advocates about their experiences during the various stages of the pandemic and what’s next in the fight for disability rights and inclusion. Their responses have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
- How do you think the pandemic changed the public perception of people living with disabilities or chronic illness?