There are a lot of reasons to care about COVID. It’s killing people, that alone should be enough. In my state alone, almost 9500 people have died now.
The other part that’s getting a lot less exposure is what is happening when the hospitals get overwhelmed. As more and more people get the virus and the hospital beds fill up, there’s no longer room to accommodate everyone. So what does that mean? It means doctors are having to make the horrendous decision of who to keep treating and who not to. Which essentially means they have to choose who lives and who dies. A big part of this decision for them is what someone’s quality of life is like and could be like if they’re able to beat COVID. This probably sounds obvious and sounds fair to most people. But what it means for members of the disabled community is that along with elderly people, we are likely the ones that are going to be chosen to die if we get COVID.
This isn’t an attack on doctors and nurses. I would never ever want to have be in the position they’re in right now. To choose who lives and who dies. This is however a scathing attack on what the reality of our society is. Disabled people are still seen as less than. Because we can’t do things the way able bodied people can, our quality of life is automatically assumed to be less than too. And this is in addition to the fact that people of color are the ones being the most severely impacted by the virus overall.
So for those of us with disabilities, not only do we have to worry about contracting COVID to begin with, something many of us may not even survive regardless, depending on our body’s ability to fight the infection, we also have to worry that if we end up in the hospital, that we might be the ones chosen to be taken off treatment. To be chosen to die.
Yes the percentage of the population that’s died may seem small in relation to the overall population numbers. But what if one of those people was your friend or family member? Not even one person deserved to die from this virus. A virus we saw coming as it spread through China for months. A virus our federal government received warning about in 2019 and ignored. So the next time you want to say this virus is no big deal, the next time you break the rules, the next time you don’t wear a mask, ask yourself how you would feel if you or someone you loved was the person who would be chosen to die at the hospital if they got the virus and all of the beds are full? Just because it doesn’t affect you directly doesn’t mean you get to give any less of a shit about it. And if you know me personally and still don’t give a shit, then consider yourself the cream of the asshole crop.
None of us are less than and none of us deserve to die. Period.