This op-ed was originally published in the Greenville News.
It has been almost five months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Carolina full force, and cases are still rapidly increasing each day. During this time, people with disabilities like myself have been shown, time and again, that we are not being considered or included in respect, relief and support. That our lives are expendable—an unfortunate but necessary loss.
Just a note: When I say people with disabilities, I’m talking about people with intellectual, developmental, psychiatric, hearing, visual or physical disabilities, and/or healthcare needs such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, etc. Our community is large and diverse, and we are carrying the highest risk for negative outcomes from COVID-19.
To be clear: People with disabilities are no strangers to inequities in the health-care system. We have long faced issues such as inaccessible offices, steep medical costs, and faulty insurance policies, and discrimination based on stereotypes of our disabilities. But with a crisis like COVID-19, the injustices we face have become even more pronounced.