As Try Guy, Zach Kornfeld, has come to terms with his own disability, he has continued to see disabled people pushed aside and treated by society as if they do not matter. The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated this issue, specifically with the narrative that only disabled people are the ones who are truly at risk and with no real plan on how to protect the disabled community. We wanted to answer the questions of “What it’s like to be a disabled person during the pandemic” and “What it’s like to be a disabled person in America.” The video shows the fear the disabled community has been living with and the discrimination they face.
Zach worked with Miles Bonsignore, Podcast Producer for 2nd Try, and Rainie Toll, Podcast Editor for 2nd Try, to put together a plan on how they could answer the questions, “What is it like to be a disabled person during the pandemic” and “What is it like to be a disabled person in America.” The team used Zach’s personal experiences as a disabled person and the experiences of four of his disabled friends to get a deeper understanding of the issues that impacted disabled Americans. That information, along with extensive research from the 2nd Try team, lead to the recorded interviews with Zach’s disabled friends for their perspectives and experiences they have had with coronavirus and the coronavirus pandemic. The 2nd Try team used news articles and interviews with the CDC to back up their findings on just how much America does not care about disabled people and was not prepared for the coronavirus pandemic to be a mass disabling event. Zach started out by discussing the CDC director’s “encouraging news” about coronavirus only killing people with four or more pre-existing conditions. He then moved viewers along to discuss the lack of care disabled people were able to receive during the pandemic, using Andrew Gurza’s real-life experience of not knowing if his basic needs would be met, including being able to take a shower or get out of bed, because his caretakers were constantly shifting due to COVID outbreaks. Zach went on to talk about the impact of long-term COVID, and how coronavirus is a mass disabling event, supporting his interviews with new articles such as New York Times, “Covid May Cause Changes in the Brain, New Study Finds,” and Medical News Today’s, “‘Ill, abandoned, unable to access help:’ Living with long COVID.” Other issues discussed include the financial hardships of disabled Americans, the long waits Americans were facing for their social security income, and how easing COVID restrictions positively affected able-bodied Americans but didn’t consider disabled Americans.
This video was originally created as a podcast episode but was so well received by the listeners and such an important issue to the 2nd Try team, that they felt it needed to be shared with a larger audience. Following a re-editing process, this video was then released to the Try Guys YouTube channel.
We were able to create a video, not for the views, but for the impact it made in educating, helping people feel seen and in appealing to humanity. Zach was able to reflect on the experiences of himself and his friends and give a platform to the Americans who have been so greatly overlooked throughout history and specifically throughout the pandemic.
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