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Everyone Is Eager to Forget Covid. But Who Are We Forgetting Along the Way?

Disability rights activist Emily Ladau amplifies the stories of people feeling not just left behind, but left out to dry.

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We lost so much to Covid—it’s indisputable. But in our rush and desperation to return to “normal,” it’s harder to see, or perhaps acknowledge, that we’ve also lost the accessibility and social safety net wins the pandemic brought along the way.

Because despite Covid no longer being a public health emergency, it is far from “over,” especially for many marginalized groups, those experiencing long Covid chief among them. “Society would rather collectively push Covid aside as a bad memory than acknowledge its long-term implications,” says Emily Ladau, a disability rights activist and the author of *Demystifying Disability. “But there’s still a crisis here.”

In the articles below, curated and annotated by Ladau, you can explore the stories of those feeling not just left behind, but left out to dry.

“Government and medical institutions are letting people who are experiencing long Covid fall through the cracks,” says Ladau. “And that’s to the detriment of everyone. We should care about advocating for support and solutions for the sake of a safer future for all of us.”

Image by Fotoeventis / Getty Images

The Long Covid Revolution

Fiona Lowenstein
The Nation

“It’s estimated that as many as 16 million working-age US adults were living with long Covid by August 2022, and that number continues to grow. And yet, because this ailment is so misunderstood and often dismissed, people who have become disabled and chronically ill due to long Covid are fighting for the support and resources they so desperately need.” -Emily Ladau

Long-Haulers Are Trying to Define Themselves

Lindsay Ryan
The Atlantic

EL: “There are over 1 billion disabled people around the globe, and that number is growing significantly because of long Covid. But for many people, grappling with the concept of identifying as ‘disabled’ can be challenging because of the stigma that society attaches to it.”

ME/CFS: The Neglected Pandemic

Timothy Cooke
The Otter

EL: “One major symptom of long Covid is a little-understood chronic illness called myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). It’s time to put more resources behind researching this diagnosis.”

Emily Ladau

Emily Ladau is a passionate disability rights activist, writer, storyteller, and digital communications consultant whose career began at the age of 10, when she appeared on several episodes of Sesame Street to educate children about her life with a physical disability. Her writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, SELF, Salon, Vice, and HuffPost and her first book, Demystifying Disability, was published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in September 2021. Emily has spoken before numerous audiences, from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. Central to all of her work is a focus on and harnessing the power of storytelling as a tool for people to become engaged in disability and social justice issues.