Two-Thirds of Coronavirus Deaths Are of People With Disabilities

Novara Media, July 2020

“When the figures first came out from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), I shared it on my Instagram and thought, ‘Oh this is definitely going to pick up and make all the major news outlets,’” says Nina Tame, a disability rights activist with 17,000 followers on Instagram

The stats, however, didn’t make nearly the kind of impact Tame was expecting. “It’s just that feeling of, ‘Oh, well it doesn’t really matter,’” she says. “This pandemic has highlighted how disposable we’re seen as.”

On 19 June, the ONS released statistics on Covid-19 -related deaths by disability status, which showed that two-thirds of people who have died from the virus (between 2 March and 15 May) had a disability. Out of an overall 38,000 deaths, 22,500 of those were disabled people.

Tame and her friend Charlie Martin, who are both disabled, analysed the statistics and sent a statement to Novara Media, detailing “the huge number of preventable disabled deaths that have occurred in the UK during the course of this pandemic,” and highlighting the way that the government views “the disabled population as collateral damage in preserving the economy”. The failure to protect the disabled community, they wrote, is “eugenics in action”.

Along with other disability rights activists – including the group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) – Tame and Martin are calling for an official inquiry into the deaths.

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