The covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on people with learning disabilities across the world. The linked paper by the OpenSAFELY collaborative led by Williamson and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.n1592) makes an important contribution to the evidence on how the pandemic has affected this vulnerable group. The findings that people with learning disabilities with covid-19 were five times more likely to be admitted to hospital and eight times more likely to die supports the findings of other studies. People with learning disabilities are extremely vulnerable to the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The NHS Long Term Plan in 2019 acknowledged the inequalities and prioritised annual health checks and influenza vaccination (through targets in primary care in England) to help reduce morbidity. Before the pandemic, clinicians in learning disability services and families were well aware of the high prevalence of comorbid disorders and unacceptably high mortality rates affecting people with learning disabilities. On average, people with learning disabilities die more than 20 years younger than the general population.
Read more at: https://www.bmj.com/content/374/bmj.n1701