People with disabilities and chronic conditions felt vulnerable during COVID-19 lockdown

COVID-19 image
Image: iStock

Over the last few months, we’ve been inundated with news and commentary on COVID-19 and the restrictions.

People have missed going to pubs, restaurants gyms and hair salons. I get it. It sucks. It’s inconvenient. Before the COVID-19 restrictions, I enjoyed going to the gym twice a week. It was a great social outlet for me, as well as a great way to work out.

But what if you have a serious disability or chronic health condition? For these people, the last few months have been hard. And the next few months won’t be any easier.

People with disabilities feel forgotten and vulnerable

The ABC  talked to a number of people with  disabilities and chronic conditions for an article. It exposed fears of becoming infected, nerves about the relaxing of social distancing and going without essential services.

El Gibb told the ABC that she had trouble getting shopping delivered at the start of the lockdown. This included groceries. This is not acceptable. Frankly, it’s outrageous. It’s a massive failure of both governments and businesses.

A few months ago, major supermarkets came under fire for mishandling extreme bulk buying and letting essentials run out. Many elderly and people with disabilities were forced to go without. Sure, Woolworths and other supermarkets tried dedicating an hour specifically for vulnerable people, but it was too little, too late. Many supermarkets couldn’t keep up supply.

For the last three months, people have also gone medical services for pain management. Emily went without cortisone injections during lockdown. I could only imagine how horrible that would have been.

Being vulnerable to contracting COVID-19

In all the debates over easing restrictions, one issue hasn’t been properly discussed: the protection of people with compromised immune systems.

It has left people with some disabilities nervous to enter public life. Sadly, isolation seems like the safest option.

There’s fears that there’ll be a lax attitude on social distancing. I personally think that the more restrictions are eased, the more likely social distancing will become a thing of the past. This has caused some people to isolate even more. This is really sad. It can’t be good for people’s mental health.

It’s sadly ironic that the people that should’ve been protected from COVID-19 are the ones facing most hardship. The lockdowns should have been implemented with the care of the most vulnerable at the forefront. Disappointingly, as with many other things, they have been left out of consideration.

Note: While I’m writing this post, things have already gone backwards in Australia. Due to a number of outbreaks in Victoria, restrictions on public and private gatherings have been reintroduced. Easing on restrictions of the number of people allowed in restaurants has been wound back.

Also, Coles have announced restrictions on purchases of some essential items in Lavington, Albury, Deniliquin and across Victoria. Hopefully, things will be better handled this time.

How have you found the restrictions? How do you feel about restrictions being eased? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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