COVID-19’s Impact on Disabled People

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I would be worried that I would die in a hospital setting with COVID19 because people don’t listen to disabled people in the hospital. It reinforces this feeling of being kind of left behind, and iced out of society. We live in a world that’s filled with ableism and biases against the disability community. Disabled people’s lives matter. They deserve to live through this pandemic.

My name is Andrew Gurza. I’m a disability awareness consultant. I live with cerebral palsy, which means that I’m a wheelchair user. -I’m Emily Ladau. I am 28 years old, and I have a physical disability called “Larsen Syndrome.” It’s a genetic joint and muscle disorder. And so, I use a wheelchair to get around. I have a sitting disability, and it means that I can sit down for only a short amount of time. It just fcuking kills me, and puts me in life-interrupting pain. I use a cane. I can’t walk fast. I can’t run, of course. I can’t dance — not really. I know a lot of people who have different types of disabilities, who feel much the same that I do, where they’re already used to various forms of social distancing or social isolation because the world is not accessible to us.

A lot of abled people are freaking out about quarantine, and disabled people are not as much. My day to day life, so far, in my apartment, hasn’t changed that much. I get up. I do some work on my computer, watch some Netflix, have some zoom meetings. I’m used to not seeing my friends that often. I’m used to not going outside that often. I’m used to not being touched that often.

What I think has changed is wishing that I could go outside, and go for a walk, go for, like, a roll in my wheelchair. Since I’m home 98% of the time, the only 2% I go out is for all my doctor’s appointments. I have so many doctors. My life is doctor’s appointments. I just live from one to the next. So, those being canceled is honestly devastating. -The only service that I regularly receive right now is physical therapy two to three times a week. And for me, that is a necessity to keep my body moving and flexible. But it’s also a little bit scary, because it means having someone come into my house multiple times a week, who could, perhaps, have been exposed to the coronavirus. They have put my care on essential services, which means that, normally, I would shower once a day, now, I’m being asked to shower every two to three days. If care becomes less of an option for me, my quality of living will decrease. I think that social distancing policies have raised some pretty critical issues for the disability community.

And we’re seeing more and more instances of ableism happen as a result of this pandemic, and we need to be aware of that. -I don’t really see the energy of solidarity with disabled people, right now, at all. I see a lot of privilege, and a lack of self-awareness around that. In so many states, they’ve been issuing guidance saying that, in the case of triage, something to take into account is a person’s disability status. And that’s really, really scary. The immunocompromised and the elderly can hear you, and it’s important that we don’t discount their lives, and how important they are. If and when this passes, and abled people are gonna continue to be abled no matter when, during or after this time. Will that accessibility, will that access, will that solidarity, will that care, extra push for care, You know, still be around. Let us have work from home. Let us have these accommodations. I really, truly believe that it is up to the government, and it’s up to corporations.

It’s even up to small businesses to come up with a world that doesn’t leave anybody behind. It proves more than ever that we need to be listening to disabled people. This is probably temporary for a lot of you healthy people. My life matters, so, social distance for me. If and when this passes, and abled people are gonna continue to be abled no matter when, during or after this time, will that accessibility, will that access, will that solidarity, will that care, extra push for care, you know, still be around? Let us have work from home. Let us have these accommodations. I really, truly believe that it is up to the government, and it’s up to corporations. It’s even up to small businesses to come up with a world that doesn’t leave anybody behind.

It proves more than ever that we need to be listening to disabled people. This is probably temporary for a lot of you healthy people.

My life matters. so, social distance for me..

Remember, the beneficiaries of Christian Outreach to the Handicapped.

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