Experiences of people with disability during COVID-19 pandemic

The ongoing social and economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have profound effects on billions of people around the world. Since the first COVID-19 case in Australia on 25 January 2020 (Hunt 2020), Australians experienced several waves of the pandemic, international and state and territory border closures, hotel quarantines, lockdowns and restrictions on social gatherings, closures of non-essential services, physical distancing and face mask requirements. At 30 September 2021, there were more than 102,000 cases of COVID-19 in Australia and 1,278 people had lost their lives due to the virus (Department of Health 2021).

Many people with disability are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing more severe health impacts. In addition to the direct health impacts of the illness, various restrictions and public health measures associated with the pandemic are likely to cause added stress for people with disability due to loss of social contacts, problems with employment and finances, disruptions to formal and informal supports, and distress associated with rapidly evolving situations and changing public health directions.

This section looks at various impacts of COVID-19 on people with disability, and how these compared with people without disability. The section explores topics such as health, social support, education and training, employment, and household finances.