AAPD Admonishes Proposed Changes to CDC COVID Isolation Guidance

The AAPD logo in a deep blue color with a white background. It is a blue and white power symbol AAPD in bold text and "American Association of People with Disabilities" written below it

In a February 2024 press release, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) critiqued the Biden-Harris administration and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention for their proposed changes in isolation guidelines for people with COVID-19. AAPD is a collaboration between disability advocates, government agencies, and corporate and nonprofit partners to continue the work put in place by the Americans with Disabilities Act. They emphasize that “there’s more work to be done” to ensure that COVID is not forgotten in American political conversations. The release is a response to the CDC’s planned edits to their COVID isolation policies, which could lower the required isolation time from 5 days to 1. The new policy says that people who are fever-free and whose symptoms improve without medical aid can return to work as soon as 24 hours after testing positive, ignoring the fact that a person’s symptoms do not reflect their ability to spread the virus. This news comes in the wake of “the United States’ second-highest COVID surge since the pandemic began,” and despite the continued struggle of disabled people who are at heightened risk of COVID-19. While AAPD has been hard at work fighting for more aggressive policies to protect their constituents from the fast-spreading disease, the CDC and the US government have been stripping back countless protocols that protect disabled people. CEO & President of AAPD, Maria Town, suggests a better path forward:

“The solution for economic and labor market repercussions of 5-day isolation periods for COVID is for federal, state, and local governments to mandate employers provide paid sick and family leave for those who have COVID-19, or who are caring for a loved-one who has COVID-19. The answer is not to reduce isolation times and expose others to infection.”

-Maria Town AAPD CEO & President

The release ends with a call to action, encouraging the disability community to call out the CDC for the potential dangers these changes could have on the at-risk people who make the community strong.

-Stephanie Farmer