A study conducted by a team of researchers from the U.K. observed that children and adults with learning disabilities in England are at higher risk to hospitalizations and death from COVID-19.
COVID-19 pandemic has posed a threat to the healthcare sector. The researchers from the onset of the pandemic have tried to identify individuals who are vulnerable to COVID-19 infections. Different studies and evidence have revealed that individuals with comorbid conditions are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. This pattern has also been found in individuals with learning disorder. So, in this study the researchers considered individuals with learning difficulties who are susceptible to severe COVID-19 infections, with higher rates of hospitalization and mortality. The researchers noted that the COVID-19 infections in individuals with Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy can be more intensified than other learning disorders. In this study, the researchers compared these individuals with the general population of England. They used data from more than 17 million (14,312,023 adults and 2,627,018 children) registered people linked to hospital admission from both infection waves: wave 1 (March 1, 2020–August 31, 2020) and wave 2 (September 1, 2020-February 8, 2020). They also studied data on the basis of age, sex, geographical location, and others. The researchers found that adults with learning disorder had five times higher chance of COVID-19 related hospitalization and eight times higher risk of COVID-19 related deaths in comparison to adults who were not on the register. However, in case of children, the study did not reveal major differences. In this context, it is important to mention that that the findings of the study are mainly observational.
In a nutshell, the researchers focused on the necessity to establish preventive measures as well as post-infection therapeutics for individuals in this group. Although, the researchers collected data from learning disability registers, factors such as the quality, disability range of the data, and others are very limited, which stresses on the maintenance of accurate registers for the benefits of this group at large.