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Disabled people make up two thirds of Coronavirus deaths - ONS

24 September 2020

Two thirds of the people who died of Coronavirus were disabled people according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

The data, covering the period from March to mid-July, shows that while disabled people make up 16% of the population according to the ONS’ criteria for self-reporting disability, they made up 59.5% of all deaths from Coronavirus.

After adjustments for region, population density, household and socio-demographic characteristics, of those whose impairments limit them a lot, disabled women were 2.4 times more likely to die of the virus, and disabled men were twice as likely to die of the virus.

DR UK’s Kamran Mallick said: “We are neither shocked nor surprised at these figures. Disabled people and their families have been telling us for months of the disproportionate impacts of the virus upon their lives.

“A catalogue of neglect has built up from the start of the outbreak which has led to these shocking figures. The misapplication of Do Not Resuscitate notices, the lack of social care available for those who live independently, the returning of infected residents to care homes where their fellow residents had no escape from infection, the lack of PPE and testing, and the lack of infrastructure to allow food and medicine to be delivered to those forced to shield at the start of lockdown, all show the neglect of disabled people by those with the power and authority to protect us.

“The government instigated the Coronavirus Act back in March. It took away our rights within the Care Act. It showed us just what government thinks, or rather, doesn’t think, of us.

“Next week, Parliament debates the provisions in the Coronavirus Act. Winter is coming. The government has an opportunity to show the fourteen million disabled people in this country that it has learnt from the mistakes of the past six months. That it will restore parity of rights by fully restoring the rights of disabled people to receive proper social care under the Care Act. That it will ensure care homes have rigorous testing, PPE and capacity to quarantine infected residents. That it will make full provision for disabled people who live independently to be able to continue to do so. And that we will not make up the bulk of these deeply upsetting statistics in the next round of data.”