Society as a whole has had a history of looking down upon people with disabilities. Many see people with disabilities as being a burden to society. Those who are part of the disabled community have had to battle for inclusion and accessibility in many aspects of society. Recent comments made by CDC director Rochelle Walensky only help to further the message that people with disabilities are not seen as valuable members of society.
Listen to the comments in the video below.
The concerning part is that she says “The overwhelming number of deaths over 75 percent occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities so really these are people who were unwell to begin with, and yes really encouraging news in the context of Omicron”
I think that this statement gives off the idea that it is somehow okay that these people died because they were already unwell. These results should not be seen as encouraging news, instead they should be seen as a cause for concern. The fact is that more work must be done to prevent even these deaths from occurring in the first place.
People who have four or more comorbidities are usually categorized as disabled. The disability community has addressed a letter to the CDC director voicing concerns regarding this statement. I completely agree with what is stated in this letter, you can read the letter here.
My grandfather was one of the many disabled residents of nursing homes with comorbidities who died in2020 due to this pandemic. He was suspected to have Covid but they were not able to get him to hospital due to lack of available space. I feel that these people were left for last they were left to die because well they were going to most likely die anyway in a short period of time.
I think that more needs to be done to help those with disabilities address health issues as early as possible so that they do not get to the point of requiring to be in a nursing home. I think that too many times people with disabilities are just thrown to the side and disregarded by the healthcare system. This is leading to a crisis where more are needing extra help in old age and leaving nursing homes overwhelmed. This must be resolved way before they reach that point.
This lack of attention also occurs in the education system as well as employment.
I am visually impaired and this pandemic has caused extra challenges for me. For instance the at home test kits are not accessible to me. I could use sighted assistance via apps and from those I live with but not every person who is blind or has low vision has this assistance available to them.
I think it is time that this pandemic somehow leads to a discussion on the lack of inclusion that people with disabilities face in society and that real solutions can come out of this that will help improve the lives of people with disabilities.