The Pandemic is Not Over: Understanding the new CDC COVID-19 Community Levels Tool

Surgical masks laying on top of each other

As guidance changes and we continue to learn about COVID-19, it’s important to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. COVID-19 continues to circulate, and removing protections only furthers the disproportionate impact of disabled people, people of color, and other marginalized groups that have less access to vaccines, testing, and safety measures. ASAN is holding a webinar to talk about the new CDC COVID-19 community levels tool and how we can keep each other safe.

In this webinar, we will talk about:

  1. What community transmission is and how it affects you.
  2. What the new COVID-19 Community Levels tool is and what the levels mean.
  3. What you can do to stay safer.

This webinar is open to everyone, but we especially want to invite self-advocates and allies to attend! 

Join us on Thursday, May 19 at 4:30 PM Eastern Time. The webinar will last around 90 minutes.

The webinar will be on Zoom and will have CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation). The panel will also be streamed live on Youtube. 

If you have any questions or would like to request any additional accommodations such as ASL interpretation, please email

Join us for The Pandemic is Not Over: Understanding the new CDC Covid-19 Community Levels Tool.

You can also find our Plain Language and Easy Read resource on the COVID-19 Community Levels here.


Zoe Gross, Director of Advocacy

Zoe Gross is Director of Advocacy at Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Previously, she worked as a special assistant at the Administration for Community Living, and as a policy analyst on Senator Tom Harkin’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee staff. In 2012, Zoe created the annual Disability Day of Mourning vigil, a national, cross-disability event which commemorates the lives of disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers. She received a White House Champions of Change award for this work in 2013.

Dean Strauss, Communications Associate

Dean is the Communications Associate at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. His background is in media and design with a focus on civic media, queer and disability representation, and digital media. He has a degree in Civic Media from Columbia College Chicago. 

More Information: 

In February 2022, the CDC started using a new way to talk about risk from COVID-19 using a new tool called COVID-19 Community Levels. Your COVID-19 Community Level can be low, medium, or high. The CDC decides each county’s COVID-19 Community Level based on how many COVID-19 cases there are in the county and whether the hospitals in the county are crowded with sick people who have COVID-19. In the COVID-19 Community Levels tool, a county can have up to 2 COVID-19 cases out of every thousand people and still be “Low.” This is different from the risk of getting COVID-19. If a place has 1 or more COVID-19 cases out of every thousand people, the risk of getting COVID-19 is high.

Community transmission means how many cases of COVID-19 there are in a place. If community transmission is high in your area, that means you have a high risk of catching COVID-19. The CDC says that community transmission is high when 1 or more out of every thousand people in a place has COVID-19. 1 out of every 1000 people might not sound like a lot, but COVID-19 spreads very fast.  If 1 out of 1000 people in a place has a bad disease like COVID-19, that is bad news.

COVID-19 Community Levels are different from risk. Having low community levels does not mean the risk of getting COVID-19 is low. This tool did not change the risk or number of people with COVID-19, the CDC just changed how they talk about COVID-19. Changing how we talk about COVID-19 does not make things safer; COVID-19 is still spreading, people are still getting sick, people are still going to the hospital, and people are still dying from COVID-19.

You can find other plain language COVID-19 resources here.