Today we went to the COVID-19 UK Inquiry to hear testimony by Disability Rights UK and disabled researchers into disability, poverty and ill-health. The hearing was under Module 2 focussing on decision-making by central government, and addressed “structural inequalities and disability”. Warning: distressing content below.
In the public gallery, we met several women from COVID-19 Bereaved Relatives for Justice, who had brought photos of their loved ones to the hearing. At lunchtime they joined our protest outside. Many of the bereaved relatives in the campaign have lost disabled family members.
Kamran Mallick from Disability Rights UK testified about the disproportionate death rate of disabled people, from 3 x higher to 30 x higher for people with Down’s.
Key evidence is a letter from Disability Rights UK to government ministers Justin Tomlinson and Helen Whateley sent in March 2020, saying that the self-isolation precautions the government had announced, were inadequate for disabled people who must have contact with care workers for daily living, and whose care workers visit various people and places. DRUK pointed out that specific measures in care homes and in our own homes (homecare visits) were needed to stop the virus spreading and needless deaths. This warning was blatantly ignored. The official reply, also shown to the Inquiry, didn’t address care homes at all, selectively answering and simply listing some temporary benefit system changes to downplay DRUK’s call for disabled claimants to have security of income during the emergency.
Video of the morning session from Monday 9 October will be on YouTube here soon.
WinVisible’s collective statement is published by the Inquiry here
More photos on DRUK Twitter