A quick look at the headlines tells us that, unfortunately,
COVID-19 isn’t done with us quite yet. In many locations, particularly those
with low vaccination rates, the Delta variant is surging, upending many plans for
in-person work and community activities.
While COVID-19 can be devastating for anyone, people with intellectual
and developmental disabilities are at a much greater risk than the general
population. A study
finds that people with Down syndrome, a common developmental disability, are
four times more likely than others to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 and face
a 10 times greater risk of dying from the virus. Therefore, the safety of this
vulnerable population has to be the top priority.
It’s a confusing and frustrating time, as so many of us
thought we were closer to returning to normal. Here are a few things you can
- If you reside in a county that is considered a
hot spot due to high levels of spread, consider taking familiar precautionary
measures, even if vaccinated. That means practicing social distancing, using
hand sanitizer, and wearing a face covering, particularly when indoors. Help a
person with a disability do these things correctly, since they may struggle
with actions such as properly wearing a mask or distancing (and may not
remember to do them consistently).
- As best you can, help your loved one understand
continuing adjustments to their routine. This will be especially important if
they recently rejoined a community activity or have begun to enjoy visits with
friends and family again. Recently we
wrote about ways to help people with disabilities understand changes,
including with social stories and visual schedules.
While no one welcomes the resurgence of COVID-19 in many
locations, there are things we can all do to protect ourselves and help each