IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 12599: Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Physical Function of Community-Dwelling People with Disabilities in Japan (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
In 2020, COVID-19 spread throughout the world, and international measures such as travel bans, quarantines, and increased social distancing were implemented. In Japan, the number of infected people increased, and a state of emergency was declared from 16 April to 25 May 2020. Such a change in physical activity could lead to a decline in physical function in people with disabilities. A retrospective study was conducted to determine the impact of the pandemic on the physical function of disabled persons living in the community. Data were collected at four points in time: two points before the declaration of the state of emergency was issued and two points after the declaration period had ended. Time series data of physical function at four points in time were compared for 241 people with disabilities. The mean age was 72.39 years; 157 had stroke, 59 musculoskeletal disease, and 26 other diseases. Overall, there was a long-term decrease in walking speed (p < 0.001) and a worsening of the Timed Up-and-Go (TUG) score (p < 0.001) after the period of the state of emergency. The TUG score worsened only in the group with a walking speed of 1.0 m/s or less before the state of emergency (p = 0.064), suggesting that this group was more susceptible.