Deaths from COVID-19 in the most deprived areas are more than double those in the least deprived Health Foundation response to ONS data on deaths involving COVID-19 by local area and socioeconomic deprivation

1 May 2020

Commenting on today’s release of Office for National Statistics (ONS) data: Deaths involving COVID-19 by local area and deprivation (between 1 March and 17 April 2020), David Finch, Senior Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:

'Today’s data provides important early insight into how the patterns of death from COVID-19 are corresponding with patterns of deprivation in local areas in the UK. It reveals a clear and worrying trend – that deaths in the most deprived areas are more than double those in the least deprived.

'It is too early to say for sure what is driving this trend. The link to deprivation is complex given the virus has spread more in densely populated urban areas that tend to be more deprived. However, there are clearly ways in which existing inequalities mean the crisis is having a disproportionate impact on certain groups. Those facing greater socio-economic disadvantage tend to live in cramped housing conditions and many are now classified as essential workers who don’t have the option of working from home, placing them at higher risk of exposure to COVID-19. People living in more deprived areas are also more likely to have one or more long-term health conditions, which means they are at greater risk of suffering severe symptoms from the virus if exposed.

'In the immediate term, it is vital that we increase our understanding of the relationship between deaths from the virus and the circumstances in which people live. As the government continues to develop its approach to dealing with the pandemic, it must ensure that support is in place where it’s most needed. A longer-term government strategy must ensure that unjust and avoidable differences in people's health do not become more entrenched in the aftermath of the crisis.'

Media contact

Simon Perry
Simon.Perry@health.org.uk
020 7257 2093

Further reading

Blog

Understanding the data about COVID-19 related deaths

23 April 2020

David Finch explains the differences between the two main sources of data about the number of...

Chart

COVID-19 policy tracker

A timeline of national policy and health system responses to COVID-19 in England.

You might also like...

Chart

Do all care home residents face an equal risk of dying from COVID-19?

Care homes have been on the front line of the COVID-19 outbreak, but why have some areas of the...

Press release

Government must now avoid political distraction and protect social care as a priority

Health Foundation response to ONS weekly deaths in England and Wales.

Chart

How is COVID-19 changing the use of emergency care by region?

Recent NHS England data show that A&E visits in April 2020 were the lowest since records began. This...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more