Recently, Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has made some comments that have left the disabled community upset. During an interview on Good Morning America yesterday, she made the following statement “The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 percent, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities.” Comorbidities include conditions like diabetes, asthma, cancer, and dementia. Odds are, that someone in your life has a comorbidity. I have multiple comorbidities myself, including spastic cerebral palsy and depression. For people with cerebral palsy, common comorbidities include epilepsy and hearing impairments.
It shouldn’t be seen as more acceptable that somebody dies from COVID-19, simply because they have diabetes, dementia, or any other comorbidities. People who have diabetes or dementia cannot help the fact that they have these conditions. As we age, we can all develop more health issues as well, which include dementia. Even if someone doesn’t have a comorbidity now, they could develop one in the future.
Everyone who has died from COVID-19 was a human being who was worthy of life and had stories to tell. All people deserve to feel valued, especially when dealing with a public health crisis like COVID-19. Nobody’s life is more valuable than anybody else’s.
Christiansen, Sherry. “What Is Comorbidity?” Verywell Health, Verywell Health, 10 Dec. 2021, https://www.verywellhealth.com/comorbidity-5081615.
“Covid-19: Comorbidity Expanded.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 Dec. 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/health_policy/covid19-comorbidity-expanded-12092020-508.pdf.
Minocha, Priyanka et al. “Clinical Spectrum, Comorbidities, and Risk Factor Profile of Cerebral Palsy Children: A Prospective Study.” Journal of pediatric neurosciences vol. 12,1 (2017): 15-18. doi:10.4103/1817-1745.20562
Spocchia, Gino. “’My Disabled Life Is Worthy’: CDC Prompts Backlash for Comments on Omicron Deaths.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 9 Jan. 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/cdc-omicron-covid-disabilities-deaths-b1989524.html.