For millions of Americans with disabilities, COVID-19 was a stress test that exposed gaping shortfalls in the health care system, according to a new report assessing the U.S. pandemic response. People with disabilities “died in large numbers” because of policies that bypassed the community when it came to protective equipment, vaccine rollouts and hospital care, according to the 200-page review by the National Council on Disability, a federally appointed watchdog. The group urged reforms before the next health crisis. “The general, overarching theme is the historic lack of attention to some of the systems that people with disabilities rely upon to keep them safe and healthy,” council Chairman Andres Gallegos said in an interview this week. “They have been ignored, and the vulnerability of people with disabilities was exposed during the pandemic.”  To read the full story.