Giving Compass' Take:

•  Andrew Pulrang, writing for Forbes, explains five ways COVID-19 affects people with disabilities differently, as so many of life's structures are unaccommodating.

• How do the ways COVID-19 affects people with disabilities reflect flaws in the way our society is set up? What can we do to learn from the pandemic in order to address these issues?

• Look for resources to help mitigate the ways in which COVID-19 affects people with disabilities.

The coronavirus has everyone spooked and taking steps to control the outbreak and prepare to get through whatever may come of it. One group faces additional risks and consequences: people with disabilities and or chronic illnesses.

Here are five points to keep in mind about how the coronavirus outbreak affects disabled people:

1. The people most often cited as being at serious risk are largely, by some definition, people with disabilities.

While simply having a disability probably doesn’t by itself put someone at higher risk from coronavirus, many disabled people do have specific disabilities or chronic conditions that make the illness more dangerous for them.

2. It can be harder for disabled people to take prudent steps to protect themselves from the coronavirus outbreak.

Many disabled and chronically ill people’s past experiences with medical bureaucracy and obtaining responsive, flexible assistance makes us skeptical that we will be able to follow all of the recommended advice successfully.

3. COVID-19 coronavirus threatens not only disabled people’s health, but their independence.

Aides and caregivers may become sick themselves, or the risk of catching or spreading illness may require aides and caregivers to stay home, interrupting disabled people’s services.

4. This outbreak has the potential to add new perspectives and urgency to a number of long-time disability issues.

Many disability activists have for years contended that the purported safety of nursing homes and group homes for elderly and disabled is overrated.

5. You can help a lot just being aware and sensitive to the specific risks and obstacles faced by disabled people in an outbreak of contagious illness like COVID-19.

Employers, teachers, health care providers, families, and friends can help by allowing disabled people as much practical and emotional leeway as possible to cope as recommended, and as they themselves may need.

Read the full article about how COVID-19 affects people with disabilities by Andrew Pulrang at Forbes.