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Coronavirus has made it even easier to forget about disabled people

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As the weeks go on, it is becoming clear coronavirus is not an equal opportunity pandemic. Guardian analysis last week found ethnic minorities in England are dying in disproportionately high numbers compared with white people. And now research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on disabled people’s lives.

More disabled adults said they were “very worried” about the effects of coronavirus on their lives than non-disabled adults (45.1% compared with 30.2%). Nearly two-thirds of disabled people said coronavirus-related concerns were affecting their wellbeing, from loneliness and problems at work, to worsening mental health.

This is all too predictable when you consider disabled people are more likely to be in low income and insecure work, isolated, and at higher risk from the virus itself (even more so if you’re disabled and BAME).

When I first argued that coronavirus would impact disabled and marginalised people hardest, some readers responded by pointing out a virus doesn’t check a victim’s bank balance before striking. But understanding that structural inequality means a pandemic will hurt some more than others is crucial if we hope to slow the impact of the virus.

Take the social security system. Universal credit has been increased by £20 since the lockdown to pay for the extra costs of the pandemic, but millions of disabled people on older out-of-work benefits such as the employment........

© The Guardian