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DD Awareness Blog – COVID-19

by Emily Kranking

Right now, the whole world is in the serious face of uncertainty and fear. The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has taken the world by figurative storm as people get it by just being with anyone that was exposed by it. The coronavirus may seem like a flu or pneumonia. But with no cure or vaccine at this moment, most countries are under varying states of lockdown, including the United States. And for all of us with disabilities the coronavirus can be even more deadly, be it due to a low-functioning immune system or a pre-existing health condition. 

We all have heard the advice to wash our hands and stay inside. Let me add a few more things: 

Stay inside… REALLY! One person is all it takes. No one in this world can stress this enough. Trust me. This morning, I learned that I may have possibly been exposed to the coronavirus, even though I was around healthy people all weekend. I am now not going to my friend’s show this weekend (even though it’s likely to be cancelled) because I can’t get him or people around me sick. Only one person, guys.  

Turn off social media/news. For me, I am mentally okay with seeing coronavirus news every five seconds. On the other hand, I’ve seen many people announcing they’re getting off Facebook or Twitter because of the fear and anxiety it can cause. If you are not comfortable with seeing news about the coronavirus every five seconds, you don’t need to endure it. It’s perfectly okay to go off social media. Turn it off. Same with the news. It feels like the coronavirus is all that the news is talking about. As a matter of fact….  

Make sure to be active. I know this is a perfect time to catch up with The Mandalorian or finally watch Love is Blind. But, watching TV 24/7 is the last thing anyone needs right now since we’ll be at home for a long, long time. Make sure you’re working out in your basement or bedroom. I’m going to try to do physical therapy exercise with my mom since my therapy sessions are canceled until May. And I don’t mean just physical exercise either—keep your brain working too. Read that book. Write that novel. Play that instrument. Finish that project. Then, go back to Netflix. 

Take walks if possible. It’s true that you can’t go to church, the gym or the library. But tha doesn’t mean that you can’t go out for fresh air. If you are not too contagious, take a nice stroll. Just don’t say hi to anyone, and make sure you’re giving everyone six feet of space.  

Check on friends/family. Of course, your friends and family are important. You aren’t totally separated from them. Facetime them! Give them any support and help you can. Watch a movie or play a virtual game together. There are still ways to hang out.  

Stock up on medicine. Particularly to my fellow people with disabilities. I’m sure that you have by the time this is published. If you haven’t, drive-through pickups are likely still open. And some states have been temporarily changing laws to allow you to stockpile a few extra months of medication. But if your immune system is very sensitive or you can’t drive like me, stay indoors and have a sterile friend, family member, or medical assistant pick it up for you. And speaking of which:  

Be sure anyone assisting you hasn’t been exposed. This is probably the most important advice to my readers with disabilities. To those who have around-the-clock care, it is crucial to check that all of your assistant(s) are in good health and haven’t been exposed to anyone with flu-like symptoms. Especially if you only have one assistant, talk with them, your medical providers, or local disability organizations for appropriate solutions should they become ill. It’s never too early (or too late) to make plans about your care!