Disabling COVID: An Exploration of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Forgotten Needs of Persons with Disabilities
The COVID-19 outbreak has impeded upon the lives of individuals across the globe in unprecedented ways, leaving government officials, healthcare personnel, and researchers struggling to find ways to alleviate its adverse impacts to citizens. Thousands of research studies have been published since the spring of 2020 to disseminate more information about COVID-19 to the public. Concerningly, research regarding one of the largest and most marginalized groups of individuals, individuals with disabilities, has been severely lacking. It is important to determine how COVID-19 has impacted disabled people’s lives both individually and as a community. Disabled populations statistically have some of the highest rates of adverse life outcomes, such as impoverishment and underemployment. Thus, during a global pandemic, it is crucial that this population is centered in research that could help find ways to potentially alleviate any exacerbation of these negative outcomes as a result of such an easily transmissible and deadly virus. The present paper examines the medical, psychological, and social impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had specifically on the disability community. It also explores potential ways to alleviate these negative outcomes, utilizing historical reference (such as the polio epidemic) and examples of effective social protection programs within low- and middle- income countries.