Coronavirus Home Testing Inaccessible for the Blind
By Anthony R. Candela
Today I read an article entitled “At-Home Coronavirus Tests Are Inaccessible to Blind People,” published in the New York Times. The blind people who were interviewed said everything I was thinking. Here we are in the latest phase of our collective COVID survival drill (testing, testing, testing) which, as bad as we thought getting past access barriers were when we sought our first vaccination appointments, pose even more problems. Not only do we have to get our hands on home testing kits (or stand in long lines, if we can determine where testing is being offered and get there), we have to figure out how to manage the tests themselves. Better, I think, that when all is said and done, we get help. The accessibility concepts and work-arounds suggested in the article seem close approximations at best. I doubt if any of the suggestions, including ways to get the sample into the small places in the test kit where the chemical analysis takes place without touching and therefore contaminating it is a difficult but not impossible feat if the proper adaptations are made. The idea of tactile outputs akin to the bumps on pregnancy sticks adapted for blind women is time-tested and feasible in the short term. Still, I worry these features will not be available before we hit the next phase of our dance with COVID. Nonetheless, manufacturers must strive to make it easier for blind people to know what to do in order to test themselves and determine the results of the tests in real time, just like sighted people. While this is happening, we are in an upsurge as mostly unvaccinated and yes, some vaccinated people are catching the latest corona virus variant. My Xmas visit to see my mother was scuttled because of the Omicron variant surge. Two stops in route were cancelled due to the people I was to see being exposed. One of them, I learned today, got sick and the other did not. Still, although fully vaccinated and boosted, I didn’t want to risk exposing my 88 year old, cancer-surviving mother to the risk of my presence. I remain convinced that we need many more people to give up their vaccine resistance, so the virus has fewer and fewer corporeal safe havens in order to mutate again. Their view on vaccinations is much harder to understand today than when the first vaccination in the west was administered when Edward Jenner inoculated a 13 year-old-boy with vaccinia virus (cowpox) in 1796. There was immediate resistance back then, but they had two reasons we don’t have today. They had neither experience nor facts to go by. Getting vaccinated will save people who catch COVID a great deal of hardship as they will not get as sick as they do when unvaccinated. It will also lessen the stress on a near-busted healthcare system and make it easier for us to get back to some semblance of normal.
Anthony R. Candela, Author
Saying aloud what should not remain silent.
Stand Up Or Sit Out: Memories and Musings Of a Blind Wrestler, Runner, and All-around Regular Guy
A memoir about life lessons learned, especially through sports
Vision Dreams: A Parable
A sci-fi novella about how a dysfunctional society forces people to go to extremes, including four blind people who seek out artificial vision.
Christian Faith Publishing, 2019