Disabled Shouldn’t Be Ignored During the Pandemic

As the global pandemic unfolds, advocates for those with disabilities hope these individuals don’t become ignored. An Iowa group says there are a number of ways that could happen.

The new coronavirus has brought us many phrases such as “social distancing” to encourage people to take preventive measures. Brooke Lovelace, executive director of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, says people definitely should adhere to those guidelines.

But she says they should also be mindful of a friend or neighbor whose disability might limit them in being able to connect with others.

Lovelace encourages Iowans to check on someone they might know living with a disability, especially if that person’s caregiver can’t help them right now. And concerns have surfaced in other states about health-care providers potentially discriminating against people with disabilities because of the crisis.

Lovelace says there’s been no evidence of that in Iowa, but she says they are monitoring. Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack of Iowa City is one of several lawmakers to sign a letter to federal officials urging them to remind states to offer protections for these individuals.

Lovelace says with state and federal lawmakers scaling back most activities during the pandemic, they might be more accessible. She says that creates a window for people with disabilities to become advocates themselves.

The relief bill was passed last week sets aside funding for people with disabilities, but some lawmakers say the federal government needs to be more responsive.

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