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Report Finds Higher COVID-19 Death Rates for People With Developmental Disabilities in Group Settings

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A report published in the Disability and Health Journal on Dec. 5 found that people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) in California who lived in congregate settings were 2.8 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who did not live in residential group settings. People with IDD who lived in congregate settings were 60% less likely to contract COVID-19.

Among people with IDD who are living in their own home or a family home, the case rate is lower than the state overall, and their case-fatality rate is only slightly higher than that of the state. People with IDD living in congregate settings, as expected, are not faring as well. —  researcher Scott Landes

The Frontlines: As mentioned in the report, a disproportionate amount of people with developmental disabilities live in residential group settings. Its findings raise concerns about how residential group homes could potentially worsen outcomes for people with IDD who contract COVID-19.

  • A July 2020 study found that in New York state,  7,841 group home residents with I/DD out of 100,000 were diagnosed with coronavirus, verses  1,910 per 100,000 people for the state as a whole.
  • The Center for Disease Control has published considerations for administrators of congregate settings to protect its workers and residents and slow down the spread of COVID-19.

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A Mighty Voice: Senior contributor editor Karin Willison, who lives with cerebral palsy, wrote about her concern that medical professionals might not fight to save her due to her disability, one of many concerns people with disabilities have expressed during the pandemic.

“Would you go to the hospital if you knew they could steal the ventilator you use to breathe every day, effectively murdering you? How would you feel knowing your son with an intellectual disability is an ‘unlikely candidate’ for a ventilator if he gets sick?” You can submit your first-person story, too.

From Our Community:

Nursing and in home care during COVID-19

Other Things to Know: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the I/DD communities in many ways, ranging from being high-risk if they contract COVID-19 to lack of access to regular therapies. You can read the stories below to learn more about the challenges people with I/DD and their families face now:

How to Take Action: You can read the full report from the Disability and Health Journal here.

Getty Images/byryo

Originally published: December 10, 2020
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