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Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis estimated that disabled people made up 59% of all deaths involving coronavirus from 2 March to 14 July 2020 in England and Wales (disabled people made up c.16% of the study population followed from the 2011 census). 

The ONS also published analysis on the social impacts of the outbreak on persons with disabilities. This found that around 58% of disabled people reported the coronavirus outbreak affected their well-being in July 2020, compared with 37% for non-disabled people. ONS research on depression in adults in Great Britain also found that disabled adults were more likely than non-disabled adults to have experienced an increase in moderate to severe depressive symptoms.

In April 2020, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Disability wrote to the Prime Minister expressing concern at the treatment of persons with disabilities. It highlighted five areas:

  • The Government must recognise the needs of those with complex disabilities and ensure accessible communications […]
  • The Government must re-evaluate its current strategy to ensure social distancing does not lead to exclusion for those with disabilities who rely on assistance accessing groceries, medication and other personal care needs […]
  • Given amendments to the Care Act 2014, Local Government must provide clear, accessible guidance on social care and support services that are available to those living with disabilities, including information on the process by which they can challenge any decisions to withdraw or reduce services.[…]
  • The Government must be prepared to resource a disability-inclusive response. During this crisis, additional funding, training, resources and PPE are vital so that people with complex disabilities and their families receive the care they need […] [and]
  • It is neccessary to accelerate efforts to include people with disabilties in the Government’s economic recovery plan. 

The Prime Minister in July said the UK Government remained committed to publishing a National Strategy for Disabled People. This is expected to be published in Spring 2021.

This briefing focuses on England, and provides information on the Equality Act 2010, the wearing of face coverings, access to education and health services, employment support and social care during the coronavirus outbreak.

Section 11 provides reports and statistics relating to the whole of the UK. The Senedd Cymru’s Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee, Into sharp relief: Inequalities during the pandemic and Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee, Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Equalities and Human Rights also contain relevant information.

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