In the media, you often hear about the ‘people of high-risk’ to the virus and how this can lead to complications or even death, well, in reality, this is people of determination and or have a chronic illness.
Report from WHO
While simply having a disability probably doesn’t by itself put someone at higher risk from coronavirus, many people of determination do have specific disabilities or medical conditions that make the illness more dangerous for them.
Unfortunately, any natural anxiety people of determination might have about the COVID-19 outbreak is likely made worse every time news reports and official statements go out of their way to reassure everyone by saying “only” elderly and chronically ill people are at serious risk. It feels awful to hear people reassure each other that coronavirus isn’t that scary because it will mainly hurt and kill “high risk” people. Remember, that’s people of determination they are talking about.
It can be harder to take steps to protect themselves from the coronavirus outbreak. For one thing, some people of determination can’t isolate themselves as thoroughly as other people, because they need regular, hands-on help from other people to do everyday self-care tasks.
Also, laying in supplies of groceries can be difficult for some people to do, when shopping of any kind is always extra taxing, and they rely on others for transportation. For some, even cleaning your homes and washing your hands frequently can be extra difficult, due to physical impairments, environmental barriers, or interrupted services.
Some people with health conditions even worry that they won’t be able to get the extra supplies of medications that are being recommended to the general public. Depending on the medications, and what kind of health insurance a disabled person has, just getting regular refills in a timely manner can be a challenge, even when there isn’t a public health crisis.
COVID-19 coronavirus threatens not only disabled people’s health but their independence.
Some disabled people depend on regular help and support from others to maintain their independence — Outbreaks of communicable disease can disrupt these services. Aides and caregivers may become sick themselves, or the risk of catching or spreading illness may require aides and caregivers to stay home, interrupting disabled people’s services.
We don’t know exactly how this will play out. The important thing to remember is that the risks of COVID-19 for people of determination don’t run only in one direction, or take only one form. And the greater risks may not be from the actual disease, but from the disruptions in services and routines, it can cause.
This outbreak has the potential to add new perspectives and urgency to a number of long-time disability issues.
For example; Workplace accommodations and flexibility …
People of determination regularly struggle to carve out flexible work arrangements, including reasonable accommodations and telecommuting. Such measures are now being looked at in a different light by many employers, in response to a problem affecting all workers, not just those with disabilities and ongoing health conditions.
Please take into consideration, Panic is neither warranted nor helpful. But don’t minimize the risks or try to talk disabled people out of being worried, it’s not unreasonable for concern. It is not just worried about getting sick, but about whether support systems they rely on will “have their backs” the way they should. Now is not the time to tighten the reins, or try to impose what you think is best for disabled people.
If you live and work with a person of determination or if you assist, care for, or serve people of determination … take the risks to us seriously and be extra careful with your own precautions so you can remain healthy and able to help.
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