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Saturday 30th May 2020

People with Down syndrome and autism 'could be left to die from coronavirus to save supplies'

Shocking reports from the US

Horrific reports from the United States suggest vulnerable people with disabilities such as Down syndrome could be 'left to die' amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The category is also thought to include people with autism and cerebral palsy.

According to Metro, medical guidance published by the state of Alabama has left American disability advocates concerned.

The information covers how to use ventilators in the case of hospitals becoming overwhelmed.

They quote a number of US titles in claiming "persons with severe mental retardation, advanced dementia, or severe traumatic brain injury may be poor candidates for ventilator support".

There are seven million Americans who live with intellectual disabilities (Credit: Unsplash.com)

Read more: Boris Johnson's pregnant sister-in-law also has coronavirus

Civil rights 

It is thought that similar guidance has been issued to both Washington and Arizona, too.

We’ll see how much of this draconian stuff goes into practice.

The Week reports the Health and Human Services Department's civil rights division is trying to understand how medical resources are to be allocated

Disability policy expert Ari Ne'eman at Brandeis University said: "What we're seeing here is a clash between disability rights law and ruthless utilitarian logic.

A 'core question' for America (Credit: Unsplash.com)

Read more: Coronavirus: UK has its biggest jump yet as death toll rises to 759

Whether civil rights laws still apply

"What this is really about is whether our civil rights laws still apply in a pandemic.

"I think that's a pretty core question as to who we are as a country."

And Professor Michael Berube, a disability studies academic, warned time will soon tell how America protects its vulnerable citizens.

He said people with Down Syndrome are "as able to contribute to society as anybody else."

"In two weeks, when the resources get truly stressed out, we'll see how much of this draconian stuff goes into practice."

Trump signs biggest ever bailout

The US has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 100,000 people testing positive.

The worst-hit state is New York, with 44,635 confirmed cases and 519 deaths.

A new stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump is worth $2trillion. It is the largest bailout in US history.

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