Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources and Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR) has collected data from eight states, including Pennsylvania, which show that while people with Intellectual Disability or Autism (ID/A) are about as likely to contract COVID-19, these individuals are significantly more likely to die from a COVID-19 infection than are members of the general public. The Institute on Disabilities was instrumental in completing the study in Pennsylvania.

Some of the most important conclusions from the information gathered for the report is:

  • providers are doing well keeping people with ID/A safe from a higher contraction rate;
  • people with ID/A are at much higher risk of dying if they contract COVID-19;
  • providers need ongoing relief funding ($270M in PA) to keep people safe.

"It is a sobering result, obviously. The bottom line is that we need more funding to help keep people with ID/A alive," said Mark Davis, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR).

"Despite enormous challenges, providers are doing an effective job protecting individuals with ID/A from contracting COVID-19. These individuals require assistance with bathing, eating and other tasks that make social distancing impossible," said Davis. "The vast majority of these individuals also have underlying medical conditions, so they are extremely vulnerable once they contract COVID-19. The mortality data make it painfully clear that we have to continue funding these protective measures to save the lives of people with ID/A."

PAR joined with the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education and Human Development in completing the study in PA. Syracuse University, New York Alliance for Inclusion & Innovation and the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) assisted as well.

"Pennsylvania and the federal government have provided temporary support, which has absolutely helped save lives," said Sally Gould-Taylor, Interim Executive Director, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education and Human Development. "But that stopgap funding is essentially gone, and we need more support. This is a very stark reminder of the obligation we have as a society to ensure that the most vulnerable among us during this pandemic are safe."

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