Are older people with disabilities neglected in the COVID-19 pandemic? – The Lancet Public Health

The study suggests that people with disabilities have a narrower margin of health, and are more susceptible to shocks than people without disabilities. The relevant question is therefore not why were the mental health impacts of the pandemic greater for people with disabilities, but rather, why did existing mental health gaps grow further during the pandemic? We do not yet have firm answers, but we can put forward a number of hypotheses.
People with physical disabilities are likely to have an underlying condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or stroke. Many of these are conditions that put people at higher risk from COVID-19.

Health messaging in the UK clearly stated that most people who died from COVID-19 had pre-existing conditions. This messaging could translate into anxiety. In the ELSA study, people with physical disabilities were more likely to have received instructions to shield during the pandemic, and even without official instruction, might have decided to be cautious, realising that they faced increased risk. As a result, social contacts will have been reduced more among people with disabilities than among people without disabilities, as Steptoe and Di Gessa show,

and shielding did in part explain the effects on loneliness among people with disabilities.

Source: Are older people with disabilities neglected in the COVID-19 pandemic? – The Lancet Public Health