COVID-19: 7 Things All Disabled Parking Permit Holders Need To Know
We’re all now living in the age of coronavirus (COVID-19). That means there will be many adjustments we’ll all need to make in our daily lives to help deal with the spread of the disease. As a disabled parking permit holder, you might have specific questions that aren’t being answered by the media in general. To help with that, we’ve come up with a list of what disabled parking permit holders need to know about COVID-19. Hopefully, this list can help answer your questions and give you a better idea of how the virus might impact your life.
Coronavirus and Disabled Parking: What You Need to Know
1. COVID-19 is a virus affecting the respiratory system.
COVID-19 is the official name for the coronavirus that has broken out worldwide. It was given this name in February by the World Health Organization (WHO), deriving from CO for corona, VI for virus, D for disease, and 19 because the first outbreak occurred in December 2019. The virus is an upper-respiratory-tract illness that appears to have originated in Wuhan, China, but has spread quickly around the world. The most affected areas are currently Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea, and the United States, although most other countries are also seeing cases.
COVID-19 can cause a dry cough, shortness of breath, and a fever. The symptoms may vary in severity depending on the person. The most at-risk groups are the elderly, the immuno-compromised, and those with pre-existing conditions. COVID-19 is currently thought to be fatal in about 3% of cases.
It is believed that the virus is spread through close contact with an infected person. Respiratory droplets from an infected person are produced when the person coughs or sneezes; the droplets can then end up in the mouth or nose of a nearby person or can be inhaled into their lungs. People are considered the most contagious when they are exhibiting symptoms, but any time a person is infected, they could pass along the virus to someone else – even if they don’t have any obvious symptoms.
2. There are differences between an outbreak, epidemic, and pandemic.
An outbreak is a sudden rise in the number of cases of a disease. It can occur in a community or specific geographic area and can last anywhere from a few days to several years. Some outbreaks are expected every year, such as influenza. An epidemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads quickly to a large number of people (like SARS, for example).
A pandemic is far more serious than the first two terms. This is when a disease breaks out globally, affecting a greater geographical area and a much larger number of people. Most pandemics are caused by a new virus that hasn’t been seen before; this means that humans have built up little to no immunity against it, which is part of the reason it spreads so quickly from person to person. Pandemics create much more significant societal or economic disruption.
3. COVID-19 is now considered a pandemic.
Now that COVID-19 has been deemed a pandemic (that is, affecting people all around the globe), more drastic measures are being taken by governments to help stop the spread of the virus. These include closing borders, limiting travel to and from other countries, and ramping up medical testing and treatment.
4. There are differences between self-isolation and forced lockdown or quarantine.
Self-isolation is what’s currently suggested for most parts of the U.S. and some areas around the globe. It means that you’re trying to avoid contact with the outside world as much as possible – working from home, not attending school, and/or limiting exposure to other people in general. Social distancing means you’re making a concerted effort to avoid close contact with other people outside of your home.
Forced lockdown or quarantine is occurring in places such as Italy, China, and some areas of the U.S. (namely, at the time of writing, the Bay area in California and some cities in New York). It means that you’re unable to leave your home, with a few exceptions (going to the grocery store or the doctor). It’s a much harsher standard of isolation and is often enforced by police. Quarantine is also necessary for people who have been exposed to the virus or who are already exhibiting symptoms.
5. Lockdown or quarantine will have an effect on disabled parking permit holders.
If you’re wondering “What are my rights as a disabled parking permit holder during HCoV-19 outbreak?”, there are some things you should keep in mind. Forced lockdowns mandated by the government still apply to handicap permit holders. However, as a disabled person, you’ll likely have a need to still go to the store, doctor’s appointments, or to the hospital; all of these things are still permitted as long as you’re trying to stay at least six feet away from other people.
You’ll still have access to the same designated handicap parking places you had before. It’s unclear what will happen with CV19 and handicap parking availability. Chances are that there will actually be slightly more available disabled parking during COV-19, because more people are staying home.
6. You should prepare for changes to parking place availability.
Although there might be more parking spots available as more people are self-isolating, there are times when available handicap parking might be more limited. For example, some stores are offering special hours where shopping is only permitted to the elderly or those with pre-existing health conditions as a way to limit their exposure to others. During these times, there might not be very many disabled parking spots available, so keep this in mind when you venture out.
7. There could be more people with handicap parking permits in the future.
Not much is currently known about the long-lasting effects of COVID-19. If damage is done to the respiratory system, some COVID-19 survivors might experience symptoms even after they’ve recovered. This means that there’s a chance that there will be more applications for handicap parking permits from people who have sustained respiratory disorders. If this is true, there might be more of a crunch on available parking spaces, which could hopefully lead to more spots being designated for use by people with disabilities down the line.
Just remember to isolate as much as possible during this time, and pay attention to how you might be impacted as a disabled parking permit holder.