NIH report: People with intellectual, developmental disabilities disproportionately affected by COVID-19

Those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who require in-person care, including in-classroom settings, are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the directors of the National Institutes of Health-funded Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers Network said today in an American Journal of Psychiatry article.

Researchers said care staff must use techniques and procedures to protect these individuals from COVID-19 infection, with caregivers employing virtual care when possible. However, the authors note that in-person care must be prioritized for those who cannot benefit from virtual care.

The article also said individuals with intellectual and development disabilities cannot always verbalize their symptoms; thus, providers should use their best judgement when considering COVID-19 infection.