According to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), six in ten deaths involving Covid were disabled people.
Between 24 January and 20 November, 2020 in England, the risk of dying is 3.5 time greater for women who are more disabled, and 2.0 less greater for less disabled women.
More disabled men are are 3.1 times at greater risk from dying with Covid, whilst less disabled men are 1.9 time likely.
The ONS said, “We define ‘more-disabled’ as those who reported their daily activities as limited a lot by a long lasting health problem or disability in census 2011 and ‘less-disabled’ as limited a little.”
Those who are diagnosed with a learning disability are 3.7 time more likely to die from Covid, than people without, the data shows.
The ONS said, that the reason disabled people are more at risk is because they are “disproportionately exposed to a range of generally disadvantageous circumstances compared with non-disabled people.”
— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) February 11, 2021
Richard Kramer, chief executive of national disability charity Sense said, “Disabled people are three times more likely to die from Covid-19, than non-disabled people. This is even greater for particular groups, such as those with a learning disability.
“And yet, throughout this pandemic, disabled people and their needs haven’t been prioritised.”
He added, “From the lack of infrastructure to allow those forced to shield to access food and medicine during the first lockdown, to the cuts in social care support affecting those living independently and families caring for them at home, they have largely been forgotten, left without sufficient support, information and communication.
“It is not enough that there will be investigation into the disproportionate impact of the virus upon disabled people’s lives, and how society has managed this.
“The Government must act now, planning its way out of lockdown with disabled people and their family’s needs prioritised, to show that it’s learnt from the mistakes of the past year.”
James Taylor, executive director of strategy, impact and social change at disability equality charity Scope told LondonLovesBusiness, “Behind these horrifying and tragic figures are individual stories of disabled people whose lives have been cruelly cut short by Coronavirus.
“Disabled people have been hit hardest by the pandemic and there is an urgent need for the government to act. Scope is calling for all disabled people who are shielding to be prioritised for the vaccine, regardless of age or condition.
“Many disabled people have been completely cut off from loved ones for nearly a year now due to shielding. Disabled people have faced months of agony and worsening health due to cancelled health appointments. At the same time, vital support to stay safe such as food deliveries and social care has been pulled away, leaving disabled people feeling angry and abandoned.
“The government must take action to stop the pandemic becoming even more of a catastrophe for disabled people. Higher prioritisation for the vaccine is essential and we need an emergency support package to protect disabled people’s lives and livelihoods.”