It has been seven days since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 pandemic. This information is abundant and of news ranging from encouraging ones about closing down emergency hospitals in China and promising treatments for COVID-19 to alarming ones from Italy where today the most significant number of people died from COVID-19. And in the midst of it all of us who are trying to cope with a new reality, to shift our lives online, to buy two-week supplies in case we need to self-isolate, and to make sense out of this extraordinary, historical situation that none of us has any experience in dealing with.
What is becoming evident is that no country can do it alone. It is a truly global crisis that does not stop at countries’ borders. To prevent this deadly pandemic, we do need a coordinated response at all levels, from international bodies like WHO, national, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to our individual responsible behaviours. A reply by all and for all!
I will repeat here the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada what each of us can do to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19: self-isolate if you feel sick, maintain social distance when interacting with other people, and maintain the proper hygiene – wash your hands with soap often, disinfect often used surfaces and do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Here is the video with useful tips from Accessible Adventurers!
Actually, I started this blog because I wanted to highlight two things that preoccupied me today:
We do need to act, in unison, all of us. We do need solidarity more than ever. We need to use technology to connect as self-isolation can be very hard on everyone. So reach out, support others and be supported. Thankfully, social distancing is physical only, so we can use technology to connect socially. Let’s think about how we can use social media and technology to check on each other and support each other in going through this pandemic. Post your ideas on the Accessibility for All Facebook page or tweet it using #AccessibilityforAll. But please also think about all those people with disabilities who are not reading this post, who do not have access to technologies and social media. We must reach them too!
And that brings me to the issue of accessibility. Whatever we do, we must think about various ways of making it accessible for all. Today, I tweeted and posted on Prime Minister’s Facebook the request to make all the COVID-19 related government announcements accessible. I watched the announcements on Facebook, and there was no closed captioning and no sign language interpretation. All government announcements must be accessible. It is federal law. Our government can and must do better. Immediately. In the midst of a pandemic, it is a matter of life and death. In the meantime, I will keep advocating and demanding accessibility and connecting with friends and neighbours, making sure that they are OK.