Increased COVID-19 Risk for Adults with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability Living in Residential Group Homes

Scott D. Landes

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Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) may be at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes due to their higher prevalence of pre-existing health conditions. A disproportionate percentage of this adult population resides in congregate settings, such as residential group homes, further increasing their risk of contracting COVID-19 and experiencing severe outcomes, including death. In the figures below, we report differences in COVID-19 outcomes between people with IDD living in residential group homes and the overall population of New York State. COVID-19 case rates, case-fatality rates (infections resulting in death), and mortality rates (deaths per 100,000 people) were each substantially higher for adults with IDD living in residential group homes than for adults in NYS as a whole (see Figure below). To fully understand the national magnitude of this increased risk, all states must begin publicly sharing COVID-19 outcome data for individuals with IDD.

Data Source: Data are current as of May 28, 2020 and come from the New York Disability Advocates (NYDA), New York State Department of Health and New York City Health Department COVID-19 Trackers. Methods are fully detailed in our article in the Disability and Health Journal.

About the Author
Scott Landes ( is Associate Professor of Sociology, a Faculty Associate in the Aging Studies Institute, and a Lerner Research Affiliate in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

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