The COVID-19 pandemic has had a series of significant and complex impacts on the lives of people with disabilities. A disproportionate number of people with disabilities have become ill and died; established inequalities in health and social care provision have been highlighted and exacerbated. The periods of ‘lockdown’ and ongoing restrictions have meant fewer social contacts and reduced care provision for many people with disabilities living independently, with impacts on physical and mental wellbeing. Telephone and online communication has been very effective for many, opening up new opportunities for social activities and receipt of care; for some, availability of and accessibility to technology have been challenging. Many community-based activities used by people with disabilities have been suspended, with concerns for provision in the longer-term. People with disabilities will be significantly affected by the economic and employment fallout of COVID-19; for some, the switch to working from home has meant more opportunities. COVID-19 has transformed social environments; mask wearing and social distancing, and one-way systems and restricted parking, present challenges for some people with disabilities. Geographers can make a significant contribution to the study of the impact of COVID-19 on people with disabilities, and the building of an equal and inclusive post-pandemic future.


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Hall, E. 2021, 'People with disabilities', COVID-19 and Similar Futures: Geographical Perspectives, Issues and Agendas. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-70179-6

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Last updated: 30 May 2023
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