Alarming figures released today (24 March 2021) show disabled people have been dying in disproportionate numbers from Covid-19.
4,333 people who have died of Coronavirus between March 2020 and January 2021 were disabled people according to new statistics released today by the National Records of Scotland (NRS).
The data show that almost 6 in 10 (58%) deaths involving Covid-19 were disabled people, although NRS says this is likely to be an underestimate.
The figures also show, after adjusting for age, that disabled women whose daily activities were limited a lot were 3.2 times as likely to die with Covid-19 compared to non-disabled women. Disabled men whose daily activities were limited a lot were 3 times as likely to die with Covid019 compared to non-disabled men.
For disabled people whose daily activities were limited a little, there was a smaller, but still significant, difference. After adjusting for age, disabled women whose daily activities were limited a little were 1.8 times as likely to die with Covid-19 compared to non-disabled women. Disabled men whose daily activities were limited a little were 1.8 times as likely to die with Covid-19 compared to non-disabled men.
See the figures in Deaths involving coronavirus (Covid-19) in Scotland.
Inclusion Scotland has reacted with extreme concern to these figures.
Heather Fisken, Director of Policy and Research at Inclusion Scotland said:
“These figures are sadly not surprising. Data from England and Wales published for the first time last year showed that disabled people were more likely to die of Covid-19 than the general population.
Our own research and that of other Disabled People’s Organisations has shown that the pandemic has had a devastating effect on all areas of disabled people’s lives.
The loss of vital social care support, unequal access to healthcare, information and food, the misuse of Do Not Resuscitate notices and the lack of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for personal assistants and carers have all put disabled people’s lives at risk. Today’s figures clearly show that disabled people have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 and not properly protected during this crisis.
The delay in publishing the Scottish figures is also further evidence of the lack of urgency with which issues affecting disabled people have been dealt with. Such data is essential to inform decisions on future prevention and emergency planning and to ensure that disabled people’s lives are protected. This data should feature large in how the Government responds to this crisis and future emergencies. Involvement of disabled people and their organisations is key to this.
Inclusion Scotland recently signed a letter to the Scottish Government calling for it to commission a public inquiry into Scotland’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. We repeat this call and urge the Scottish Government to ensure there is a full investigation into what happened to disabled people during the pandemic and the reasons why so many disabled people have died from Covid-19.”