In March 2020, the world stopped. Well figuratively speaking of course, but we were faced with a new virus which to this day has killed approximately 1,3million people worldwide. Reports have shown, that unless you are healthy and do not have any underlying risk factors, chances of infecting with a deadly version of Covid-19 are relatively small.
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) state in their infograph that people with disabilities are 3 times more likely to suffer from heart diseases, diabetes or even cancer than people without any disability. Some disabilities can also lead to a weakened immune system. All of the aforementioned ARE massive risk-factors to covid-19, so it is safe to say that people with disabilities can be in extremely high risk at infecting the virus.
As the preventive measures are still at large, we spoke with the staff at Itäkeskus Family Center. We found out that there has been a decline at visits to the social services as most of their meetings are being held remotely via Skype or teams. As the pandemic and restrictions related to it are still very much at a place, new and worrying research and news are showing up. Mental health problems due to isolation are rising, and for those in the most marginalised position the toll could be overbearing. Social isolation and health problems are intertwined and can lead to severe problems, e.g heart failure and dementia. Add the constant worry and anxiety and already restricted mobility issues, and the results can be catastrophical.
It is also vital to remember that we do not stigmatise too quickly as most of the people with a disability issues do not necessarily have other health problems. People can be as healthy or ill as anyone else. Some underlying risk-factors can still be found and those need to be addressed as swiftly and efficiently as possible.