Disabled people struggling to recover from their experience during the pandemic
Disabled people struggling to recover from their experience during the pandemic, according to new research to mark the third anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown.
Disabled people make up almost 60 per cent of those who have died from Covid, and research by the disability charity, Sense, shows that one in two (49 per cent) disabled people are yet to recover from the wider impacts of the pandemic.
At the height of the pandemic, loneliness and isolation spiralled, with three in five (61 per cent) disabled people describing themselves as chronically lonely. The figure, today, remains worryingly high at 50 per cent.
Two in five (40 per cent) disabled people are still worried about catching Covid, and over half (56 per cent) believe their needs have been largely overlooked in the government’s response to the pandemic.
One in two (49 per cent) disabled people say they are yet to recover from their experience at the height of the pandemic, according to a new poll by the national disability charity, Sense, published ahead of the third anniversary of the first national lockdown on Thursday 23 March.
Disabled people have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. They make up almost 60 per cent of those who have died from Covid, and cuts to services contributed to isolation and loneliness levels spiralling. At the height of the pandemic, three in five (61 per cent) disabled people described themselves as chronically lonely (i.e. feeling lonely often or always). Today’s poll, however, shows that while the figure has reduced, it remains worryingly high, with half (50 per cent) currently describing themselves as lonely always or often.
More than two thousand disabled people were surveyed, with the findings revealing that fears around Covid and frustrations at a lack of support, have not gone away. Two in five (40 per cent) disabled people said they are still worried about catching Covid, and over half (56 per cent) feel their needs have been largely overlooked by the government.
Less than a third (28 per cent) of disabled said they were confident that the government will be better prepared to support them in the event of a future health emergency.
Head of Policy at Sense, Sarah White, said:
“Disabled people make up almost 60 per cent of those who died of Covid, and millions of disabled people experienced hardship and isolation during the pandemic.
As we approach the eve of the third anniversary of the first national lockdown, disabled people tell us they have felt unsupported, and their needs overlooked, during the pandemic.
Many remain worried about catching Covid, while loneliness levels, which spiralled during the height of the pandemic, remain high, raising huge concerns around mental health.
The upcoming public inquiry is an opportunity to learn from the mistakes that have happened during the pandemic and ensure that never again are disabled people treated as second class citizens. We must seize it.”
The Covid-19 inquiry will begin hearing evidence on June 13.
(Pictured – Natalie Williams, Photo Credit: Sense)
Natalie Williams (40) from Ebbw Vale in Wales, lives with her husband and two children. She has Usher syndrome. Born deaf, she began losing her vision in her late 20s.
Losing her eyesight has meant she’s had to work hard to build up her independence, but she says her experience during the pandemic has knocked her confidence and made her very anxious. As a result, she now rarely goes out.
Natalie Williams said:
“I was going out on my own, I was going on the buses, on the train, and I felt comfortable doing it.
Since Covid I’ve lost all that and I can’t seem to get it back. I’m just too anxious to go anywhere, to do anything.
I’m stuck in the house all week because I don’t go out unless I’ve got someone with me.
I’ve lost all my independence really and am struggling to get it back. It’s like nobody really cares.”