Being an English Lit student means I’ve read some pretty tragic tales. I’ve rode the sad train of Anna Karenina and experienced the blood bath of Hamlet front row. However, 2020 has been so horrific, that I’m sure even Leo Tolstoy and William Shakespeare would have had a difficult time writing it.
With the UK surpassing 1 million COVID-19 cases, over 50,000 COVID-related deaths, and inflicting two national lockdowns in just one year, it’s crazy to think that the government have done so little in forward planning to help those that are the most vulnerable, especially the disabled community.
The Independent have recently surfaced information on just how much the disabled have been suffering, revealing that they believe their lives have been “forgotten”.
In the famous words of Stitch: “nobody gets left behind or forgotten”, but a whopping 65% of disabled people feel their rights have been “negatively affected” due to the coronavirus, “often leaving them unable to do basic things such as leave the house, eat or wash themselves”. I think that perhaps Boris should maybe log onto Disney plus and take some inspiration for his next press conference…
In 1995 (a much simpler time), The Disability Discrimination Act was enforced. This is an act of the UK Parliament which ensures that people with a disability will be treated as equally as everybody else. The act has now been repealed and replaced by the Equality Act (2010), establishing that absolutely EVERYBODY must be treated the same.
After 25 years of the Disability Discrimination Act being brought in, it has been accounted for that 59%, of all the COVID-related deaths between 2 March – 14 July, were people with a disability.
A recent YouGov survey has also revealed that over 1,000 disabled people between the ages of 18-65, found that 7 in 10 felt their needs have been “overlooked” since the beginning of this pandemic. So all in all, not very inclusive…
Now, if I haven’t stressed enough just how neglected the disabled feel, then the chief executive of Disability Rights in the UK, Kamran Mallick, confirms this. When speaking to The Independent, Mallick claimed that since the beginning of the pandemic, disabled people have been placed “at the bottom of the pile” for access to “everything necessary to continue living independent lives”.
Mr Mallick has also expressed a concern about the increase in mental health conditions. Legend right? He has brought up the verbal and physical abuse that disabled people are facing due to them being exempt from wearing a mask.
So, do me a favour and the next time you see somebody with an exemption card or a green sunflower lanyard, just admire it’s beauty. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that everybody’s situation is different, so now more than ever, it’s important to keep any opinions to ourselves.
Phillip Anderson, the Head of Policy at the MS Society, has urged ministers to address the “growing chasm” that disabled people are facing. He called upon the government to provide health and care services with the funding they need to help the disabled get through this winter.
A government spokesperson has told The Independent that the government have “provided an extra £9.3bn to support the disabled across the country”.