According to a study published in the Disability and Health Journal, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are more likely to die from COVID-19 than those without IDD.
The study provides insight into how to protect this vulnerable section of the population from Covid-19.
Researchers from Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate Medical University in the US, said the correlation is likely due to a higher prevalence of co-morbid diseases among those with IDD.
A higher percentage of people with IDD live in congregated residential settings. This makes them more vulnerable.
Their study included 30,282 people who were identified as COVID-19 positive.
“More attention is needed to this vulnerable health population in order to ensure their safety and well-being during this pandemic,” said study co-author Scott Landes, an associate professor of sociology at Syracuse University.
Landes said careful attention should be given to assess the impact of PPE prioritisation and funding streams on the ability of residential service providers to guarantee quality care to those with IDD during this time.
According to the researchers, every individual in the study had COVID-19, and based on the number of deaths recorded, they offered an idea of the severity of the disease among age groups. They said in ages 0-17, for every 100 individuals with COVID-19, 1.6 with IDD died, and less than one without IDD died.
And among ages 18-74, for every 100 individuals with COVID-19, 4.5 with IDD died compared to 2.7 without IDD.
The rates were similar for those who were 75 and over, the scientists said, adding that for every 100 individuals with COVID-19, 21.1 with IDD died, and 20.7 without IDD died.
In comparison, among 1,00,000 individuals without IDD, the researchers estimated that 2,700 to die. Based on the analysis, the scientists said this would be an excess of 1,800 deaths among those with IDD.
Individuals with IDD also had a higher prevalence of comorbid circulatory, respiratory, and endocrine diseases across all age groups, the researchers noted in the study. They cautioned, however, that the study did not test causality in the data.