Coping With Disability in the Time of Coronavirus

Coping With Disability in the Time of Coronavirus

Blind people rely on touch to navigate the world.
For  blind people, logistical problems have multiplied now that the novel coronavirus might be waiting on the next door knob or window sill. And without sight, it’s hard to know if you’re abiding by social distancing guidelines by staying six feet away from others when you go out in public.

In the midst of the pandemic, those who live with disability or contend with a chronic illness are now at a double disadvantage, CNN reports.

Leaving the home for a visit to a doctor can feel like playing Russian roulette. And it’s worse if you’re both blind and dealing with a deadly disease like cancer.

“It’s terrible to have cancer in the time of corona,” says Sassy Outwater-Wright, who is executive director of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. “I still have to go to the hospital for my conditions. Each time, we’re putting our health and the lives of our loved ones at risk.”

Sassy lost most of her eyesight to a rare form of the disease at the age of three. Now, at age 37, she’s fighting a fourth cancer — this time in her brain.

She worries that she could be exposed to coronavirus via a healthcare worker who’s seen 20 other patients that day, one of whom could be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. And she worries that her cancer diagnosis might place her on the triage list if she contracts Covid-19 and needs a ventilator.

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