By CHARLES CATHERINE: For More Info, Go Here…
I am standing in my neighborhood grocery store, waiting for Willy, one of the trusted workers who usually helps me with my shopping. As I reach out and grab his familiar shoulder, I realize that everything has changed: I’m reluctant to touch him.
I lost my sight about 10 years ago at the age of 21. Around 57 million Americans live with a disability; that’s about 20% of the population. Even during this global crisis, people with disabilities still get out of bed and move through life’s routines despite new threats to our health. In many ways, to us, nothing has changed, especially because social distancing is not always an option.
When I go shopping, or when I go for a run, I need someone’s help. I need to touch things, and now I have to remind myself to take extra steps to remain safe and healthy. For some of my friends, this situation is even more complex. They can’t isolate themselves like others do. They need hands-on help from other people to do daily self-care tasks.
Simply having a disability doesn’t by itself put someone at higher risk from coronavirus, but many people with disabilities do have specific disabilities or chronic conditions that make the illness more dangerous for them. Willy and I have had to change. I wear gloves. I wash my hands often. I get out only when necessary. We have had to rethink our approach to ensure both of us stay healthy in this new reality of ours.