Official Data Shows That The COVID-19 Death Rate Is Twice As High In The Poorest Areas Of England And Wales

O COVID-19 The death rate in the most deprived areas of England and Wales is twice that of the richest, new places Dice published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed.

Research shows that in the most deprived areas of England, the death rate was 55.1 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with 25.3 deaths per 100,000 people in the least deprived areas.

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The mortality rate progressively increases from the least deprived area to the most deprived areas, according to ONS figures.

Data for Wales revealed a similar trend: the most deprived areas had a death rate of 44.6 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, almost double the majority of places where the rate was 23.2 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.

Nick Stripe, head of health analysis at ONS, said the difference in the death rate between the poorest and wealthiest parts of the country due to COVID-19 is even greater than is normally seen.

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"People living in more deprived areas have experienced COVID-19 mortality rates more than double those living in less deprived areas," he said, adding that "overall mortality rates are usually higher in more deprived areas, but so far COVID-19 seems to be taking them even higher ”.

Levels of deprivation were based on the multiple deprivation index, which measures deprivation based on a number of factors such as income, employment, health, education, crime, the environment and access to housing.

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According to data from 2019, the latest available index, Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Knowsley, Hull and Manchester, has the highest proportions of neighborhoods among the poorest in England.

The index also shows that seven of the ten districts of the local authority with the highest levels of income deprivation among the elderly are in London.

Between March and April 17, 2020, there were 90,232 deaths in England and Wales, with 20,283 deaths involving the coronavirus. The vast majority of these deaths are in the elderly.

The data use a metric called age-standardized death rates to allow comparisons between populations that may contain different proportions of people of different ages.

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London has the highest age-standardized mortality rate, with 85.7 deaths per 100,000 people involving COVID-19, almost double the next highest rate, according to ONS.

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And the local authorities with the highest age-standardized mortality rates are all London neighborhoods: Newham had the highest standardized age rate, with 144.3 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Brent with a rate of 141.5 deaths from 100,000 inhabitants and Hackney with a rate of 127.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.

Diana Johnson, a Labor MP for Kingston Upon Hull North, said that while she was very aware of the impact that deprivation had on life expectancy, the difference in COVID death rates was "shocking".

"This is something that I'm sure scientists, doctors and researchers will look at for a long time, but clearly, there is something about it," she told BuzzFeed News.

"These numbers are very strict, because if you are poor if you live in a poor neighborhood, it is more than twice as likely that I think these numbers will die, which is very severe," he added.

Although she said more research is needed to find out exactly what is behind the differences in death rates, she said it was clear that "there is something that you are most susceptible to, the poorest and most needy community where you come from. , to succumb to COVID-19 ".

Johnson suggested that a factor that is probably causing the discrepancy in mortality rates may be the health inequality that exists in poor communities.

"Doctors keep telling us that if you have a pre-existing condition, this is more of a problem for you to fight COVID," she said, "and I know in my constituency that people with chronic conditions tend to get them earlier. . "

Johnson said that relatively high levels of smoking leading to respiratory problems, more people developing coronary problems at a younger age and higher rates of obesity were factors in the underserved communities she represents.

"These are factors that we know can often affect your ability to eliminate disease," she said. "And they are obviously having a dramatic effect on COVID."

Johnson suggested that the government should also consider the impact of deprivation in conjunction with its investigation into why the coronavirus is disproportionately affecting ethnic and black minority communities in the UK. "Maybe now [they need] to be expanding this and also looking at deprivation, ”she said.

"I think of poor communities and also BAME communities, and there is often a lot of overlap there, I think the government really needs to look at this," he added.

Chris Thomas, a researcher at the IPPR research institute, said that disproportionately severe cuts in public health services in areas classified as highest by deprivation may have affected his resistance to the virus.

Public interventions that have been drastically reduced in these areas – including anti-smoking campaigns, measures to reduce obesity and sexual health clinics – were designed to avoid the type of underlying health conditions that experts say are now putting people at greater risk of becoming seriously ill. patients with COVID-19.

"The services designed to keep people in good health were by far the most difficult in the areas of the most deprived local authorities," said Thomas.

Alison Garnham, executive director of the Child Poverty Action Group, told BuzzFeed News: "The link between poverty and poor health is well established, so it is not surprising that poor communities have worse results when the country is facing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This discovery makes it all the more important that government measures to support people financially focus mainly on those who were already struggling to survive before the pandemic.

She asked ministers to provide more support to families with children, increasing the benefit by £ 10 per child per week.

ONS also found that the mortality rate was much higher in urban than in rural areas, with the highest mortality rate in “large cities and towns”, where the death rate is 64.3 per 100,000 inhabitants.

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