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Resources on Disability & COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic remains ongoing, philanthropy must double down on a commitment to ensure that the disability community is not left behind.

The National Council on Disability’s (NCD) 2021 Progress Report: The Impact of COVID-19 on People with Disabilities “found that COVID-19 exacted a steep toll on certain populations of people with disabilities, and the events that unfolded during the pandemic, including measures to mitigate the spread, posed unique problems and barriers to people with disabilities.” Issue areas include: “(1) accessing healthcare; (2) accessing direct care support; (3) congregate care settings and transition; (4) education; (5) employment; (6) effective communication; (7) mental health.”

This page offers powerful resources and reading that have been published within the past year as a starting point for learning about the connections between COVID-19 and key disability issues. While some of the pieces may have specific details that are out of date due to the continuing evolution of the pandemic, the overarching themes remain crucially relevant. (Please note that some of the content may be triggering.)

Disability Experiences and Perspectives

The disability community is not a monolith. Every disabled person has their own individual set of experiences regarding how the pandemic has impacted them. These pieces offer a range of insights about different types of disabilities, but the perspectives shared are far from exhaustive.

Vaccine Inequity

For the disability community, access to the COVID-19 vaccine has been fraught with barriers. The articles address some of the numerous vaccination-related inequities disabled people continue to encounter, and how some of them are pushing back.

Healthcare Rationing

As the pandemic took hold, so too did ethical dilemmas about rationing healthcare for disabled people. Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a bulletin on avoiding disability discrimination in treatment rationing, fears of encountering this remain. In these pieces, disabled reflect on the life or death urgency of rationed care.

Ableism and Racism

2020 laid bare the intersections of ableism and racism, which is addressed in these important readings.

Economic Impact

Disabled people as a marginalized group already experience significant economic inequities, which were strongly exacerbated by the pandemic. These articles cover some of the major economic effects that disabled people are continuing to affect disabled people.

Education Access

As learning shifted online, students with disabilities grappled with a lack of accessibility in virtual classrooms. These pieces address some of those challenges.

Mental Health

The pandemic has certainly taken a collective toll on mental health, and these articles dive into some of the effects and how to cope.

Navigating a Virtual World

While moving everything online has opened up access for many disabled people, it has also led to numerous issues with inaccessibility. These articles and resources address accessibility best practices for a remote world.

Learning Opportunities for Philanthropy

It’s important to recognize that philanthropy has a lot to learn from the devastating effects of COVID-19 and the changing world that’s resulted from it. These articles and resources address key learning opportunities for everyone in the philanthropic sector.