I just spoke on a The World Transformed webinar about coronavirus, and I highlighted some key demands that are emerging from disabled people. A lot of people asked for more information about those in that chat, so here they are:

I spoke about my experience as a disabled person who uses direct payments – which allow me to employ my own personal assistants directly, but which leave me as an atomised individual employer.

I am very vulnerable to coronavirus, I use a ventilator part-time (mostly at night) and don’t have a spare bacterial filter for it. I have carers 24/7 who constantly come in and out of my house, meaning I’m dependent on them taking care to avoid contracting coronavirus, because if they get it, I get it.

I don’t have access to personal protective equipment for my carers. We’re making masks out of t-shirts, hand gel out of hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and cucumber gel, and washing disposable gloves in the machine to re-use them.

I can’t pay my carers if they’re off sick. This means they might come into work ill – not out of cruelty but because they have to work in order to pay their rent, and I know that. If they’re off sick I don’t have access to an agency-like pool of people to cover their shifts, though I’m hiring.

In Italy, health services have been so overwhelmed that elderly people and those with significant pre-existing conditions just aren’t being treated. This terrifies me, because – like most people – I want to live.

Please think about these demands and the experience of disabled people amidst the coronavirus crisis.

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