Please join WID in the following Call to Action, led by the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies:
Join us in stopping the mass slaughter of people with disabilities who are dying from COVID-19 in nursing homes and other institutions in every US state and territory.
In the alarming absence of government intervention, there is an urgent need for immediate action by Centers for Independent Living, Protection and Advocacy systems, individual advocates, and all other disability organizations to find, support and protect people with disabilities in nursing homes, group homes, psychiatric institutions, residential and correctional facilities, alternate care facilities, and other congregate facilities.
As of April 19, at least 7,300 people with disabilities have died in nursing homes from COVID-19:
An unknown number of people have perished in agonizing deaths in these and other congregate facilities.
Despite civil rights obligations to people with disabilities, the government is failing at all levels to protect people with disabilities from neglect and egregious harm. In the absence of government intervention during this pandemic, it falls upon the disability community to serve as vigilant advocates demanding immediate action to save our disabled siblings and others also being relegated to these death pits.
Facility owners and operators are already hungrily seeking opportunities to fill the empty beds of thousands and thousands of victims. Soon there will sadly be many more than the publicly reported 7,300 nursing home beds empty as a result of COVID-19. Loss of funding is also a motivation for the for-profit prisons to prevent the release of inmates and detainees.
The long-overdue requirement announced by HHS on 4/19 finally demands that nursing homes report on COVID-19 infections at their facility to the CDC and inform residents, their families and representatives. While this is a meager start, it will have little benefit beyond admiring the magnitude of the problem.
We ask Centers for Independent Living, Protection and Advocacy systems and other disability advocacy organizations to begin or continue to take action in three ways:
- Complete this survey in link below before May 1, 2020 so we can get a national snapshot of information not publicly available.
- Call out the true magnitude of the civil rights violations of people with disabilities already in and those being forced into institutions and other congregate facilities. This includes any form of medical rationing and denial of disability access and accommodations.
- Work together to protect everyone who is still alive. This includes keeping people with disabilities from becoming infected, providing personal protective equipment, health maintenance and personal assistance and services for all people with disabilities, at home, in acute care and institutional settings.
*Please submit survey responses by May 1, 2020*
People with disabilities are 2-4 times more likely to die or be injured in any disaster, and our community is experiencing the disproportionate impact throughout the COVID-19 pandemic right now.
We must be prepared to respond and amplify our unified message, together.
We at The Partnership thank you for your support and efforts to educate, advocate, and make a difference for people with disabilities in your community before, during and after the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and all public health emergencies and disasters.
For more information on WID’s work on COVID-19 and other emergencies & disasters, please visit our Emergencies, Disasters, and Climate Resilience page.
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