UN leader says 1B people with disabilities hard hit by virus

The U.N.’s leader says the world’s 1 billion people living with disabilities are among the hardest hit by the coronavirus and called for them to have equal access to prevention and treatment of COVID-19

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the pandemic is revealing the extent to which people are marginalized and is intensifying the inequalities that people with disabilities already face, such as poverty and higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse.

His video message was released alongside a U.N. report that said people with disabilities are estimated to be 15% of the world’s population and 46% of the world's people who are older than 60.

The report outlined actions to protect people with disabilities from contracting the virus and dealing with the impact of lockdowns, physical distancing and isolation.

It called for greater support and political commitment to ensure that people with disabilities "have access to essential services, including to immediate health and social protection services, to tide over the crisis."