CW: Death & Eugenics:
President Joe Biden declared the coronavirus pandemic to be over in an interview that aired on Sunday, following more than a million deaths in the US and nearly three years of lockdowns and economic disruptions.
For disabled people, however, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Those with disabilities have faced numerous challenges throughout the pandemic. According to a report released in October 2021 by the National Council on Disability, a third of COVID-19 deaths between the beginning of the pandemic in the United States and March 2021 happened in facilities for the elderly and disabled. On top of that, these individuals were sometimes triaged out of Covid-19 treatments when hospital beds, supplies, and staff were in short supply.
Another study conducted before vaccines were available found that people with developmental disabilities were 3.06 times more likely to die from Covid-19, while people with intellectual disabilities were 2.75 times more likely to die, and people with spina bifida and other nervous system conditions were 2.48 times more likely to die.
As a person with Cerebral Palsy, I can’t help but consider what would happen if I ended up in the hospital with COVID-19. Would saving my life be worth the effort? Would the staff consider my life to be valuable?
Sarah McSweeney, who died in 2020, had Cerebral Palsy. A document that the employees from McSweeney’s group home brought with them baffled the doctors. It was a legal document defining the medical care that this disabled woman, who couldn’t speak for herself, desired.
The employees didn’t understand why it wasn’t a DNR. A do-not-resuscitate order is a legal document issued by a doctor saying that you do not want to be resuscitated in an emergency. The staff felt she was less valuable because of her disabilities. This is terrifying to me as a woman with CP.
The pandemic is not over yet. Disabled people’s lives are valuable and worth saving. We are people with gifts and talents who have so much to offer the world. Our disabilities don’t make us less worthy. If people in your life are still taking COVID-19 precautions please be supportive and understanding.
Garcia, Eric. “Biden Is Wrong. the Pandemic Isn’t over for Disabled Americans.” MSNBC, NBCUniversal News Group, 23 Sept. 2022, https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/biden-wrong-pandemic-isn-t-over-disabled-americans-n1299051.
Johnson , Alex. “’The Pandemic Is over,’ Biden Says in TV Interview.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 19 Sept. 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/-pandemic-biden-says-rcna48266.
Shapiro, Joseph. “As Hospitals Fear Being Overwhelmed By COVID-19, Do The Disabled Get The Same Access? .” NPR, NPR, 14 Dec. 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/12/14/945056176/as-hospitals-fear-being-overwhelmed-by-covid-19-do-the-disabled-get-the-same-acc.