During December 2019, a new type of respiratory disease (human coronavirus) first appeared in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Since that time, coronavirus disease 2019 also known as COVID-19 has spread to approximately 104 countries (territories/areas) including the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are approximately 423 cases in 35 states including the District of Columbia (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html) with number of cases expected to rise.
With continued uncertainty and misinformation on the rise, it is important to rely on reputable sources for information, particularly for groups that are traditionally at higher risk during health emergencies. These include pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding, young children, older adults and the elderly, and people with some chronic conditions, and individuals with disabilities. In the case of COVID-19, being a person with a disability does not necessarily put you at higher risk for contracting the virus or getting sicker than other people. However, staying informed is important for your physical and mental well-being.
The go-to resource for accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19 is the CDC website for Coronavirus Disease 2019, which includes information for people at higher risk, how it spreads, symptoms, and prevention and treatment as well as an FAQ on a wide variety of related topics. The Administrative for Community Living (ACL) offers a guidance brief on COVID-19 and what older adults and people with disabilities need to know that also includes CDC recommendations for those at high risk, and everyday actions to prevention illness such as avoiding touching your eyes, nose, mouth, cover your cough/sneeze with your elbow or tissue, and most importantly – Washing Your Hands!
People with disabilities may want to keep in mind the progress of the outbreak, including potential strain on the healthcare system, closure of facilities, and reduced access to transportation could mean disruption of support services essential to one’s independence, employment, and access to healthcare. As communities assess the need for precautions, individuals may want to take their own actions to prepare for emergencies. We shared resources for emergency preparedness in a series of posts during National Emergency Preparedness Month which you may find helpful.
Additional COVID-19 Information & Reliable Resources:
- Federal Guidance on COVID-19 (multiple agency resources): http://www.advancingstates.org/initiatives/covid-19-resources/federal-guidance-covid-19.
- Materials on COVID-19 by State: http://www.advancingstates.org/initiatives/covid-19-resources/state-materials-covid-19.