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The disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people

Jan 2021

This micro briefing presents a range of evidence relating to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with disabilities and is the first in a series of COVID-19 micro briefings.

Key points:

  • People with disabilities are more likely to become seriously ill or die from COVID-19.
  • A variety of mechanisms explain the disproportionate impact of the pandemic among disabled populations – including elevated clinical risk; the worsening of existing poverty and inequalities; barriers in accessing vital services, including COVID-19 testing; and the disruption of vital health, social care, and other support services.
  • The unintended impacts of lockdown disease containment policy are more acutely felt by people with disabilities who have higher rates of existing common mental health disorders, are more likely to be socially isolated, and to be digitally excluded.
  • Mainstreaming the sustained involvement of people with disabilities in designing pandemic recovery policy, practice, and research at the local and national levels will support the effectiveness of public service responses and the potential to ‘build back fairer’.

About the authors

Developed in partnership with Policy Scotland, this micro briefing was written with the Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) – a disabled people-led organisation with over 5,000 members across Greater Glasgow. GDA provides a range of support services for disabled people including fully accessible learning, coaching, and events designed to connect disabled people with each other, with opportunities and with decision makers.

The other briefings in the series are:

The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on disabled people

pdf | 296KB


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