Disabled people experienced highest levels of loneliness in coronavirus pandemic

Disabled people suffered most in the coronavirus pandemic as they reported the highest levels of loneliness, official figures have suggested. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published data on Thursday showing that, in July 2020, roughly three quarters of disabled people reported that they were “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about the effect that virus pandemic was having on their lives, compared with 66 per cent of non-disabled people. 

This is a similar rate to May, when nearly 74 per cent of disabled people reported these concerns.

However, researchers also found that disabled people were more likely to report leaving their homes for medical needs or to provide care or help to a vulnerable person (19 per cent) than non-disabled people (seven per cent) but less likely to report leaving their home to eat or a drink at a restaurant, cafe, bar or pub (eight per cent of disabled people and 14 per cent of non-disabled people). 

They were also less likely travel to work (21 per cent of disabled people, 39 per cent of non-disabled people), or to take children to and from school (five per cent of disabled people, 11 per cent of non-disabled people).

As a result, in July around four in 10 disabled people – 37 per cent – reported that they had not met up with other people to socialise, a higher proportion than reported by non-disabled people, at 29 per cent.

In turn, the ONS found disabled people were more likely to report suffering from loneliness in the pandemic. 

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