As one of the Oregon Health Authority’s Community-based Organizations, The Arc has dedicated time and resources to help the community respond to the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, but especially for marginalized communities like the intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) community.

According to the directors at the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRC) Network, at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a “disproportionate toll on people with I/DD.”

Some emerging data suggest that individuals with developmental disorders or intellectual disabilities are much more likely to contract COVID-19 than other people. They also have a much higher risk of dying from COVID-19.

People with I/DD appear to be at greater risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19. This is due to a variety of factors, including:

  • A high prevalence of underlying medical conditions
  • Difficulties accessing information
  • Understanding or practicing preventative measures
  • Communicating symptoms of illness
  • Residing in a congregate care setting

There is also a higher incidence of autoimmune disorders among those with I/DD. Autistic adults, adults with intellectual disability, and adults with mental health diagnoses have multiple risk factors for infection with COVID-19 and for experiencing more severe disease if they contract COVID-19, according to research from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University.

SARS-Cov-2 is poised to be endemic according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Due to its incubation period and often asymptomatic nature, we will likely require permanent changes in how our society functions as well as see regular booster shots going forward.

What We Know  

We have learned a lot, and we have far more to learn…. The bullets below are taken directly from interviews with CDC scientists. 

  • Experience throughout the pandemic shows it takes at least three weeks after an increase in cases to see a resulting increase in deaths.
  • If you’re unvaccinated, you’re 17 times more likely to be in the hospital and 20 times more likely to die than if you’re boosted. 
  • The highest risk of being on a ventilator for a child is if you’re unvaccinated. We also have recent data demonstrates that dangerous MIS-C syndrome that we’re seeing in children, 91% protection if you’ve been vaccinated
  • We have seen with the Omicron variant that prior infection protects you less well than previous virus variants.

Right now, the most important thing to do is to is to get vaccinated and get boosted.