PHE report confirms that the burden of the pandemic is not being shouldered equally Health Foundation response to Public Health England report on disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19

2 June 2020

Commenting on Public Health England ‘s report today examining disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation, said:

‘Today’s report confirms what we already knew – the burden of this pandemic is not being shouldered equally. Some groups are at much greater risk than others and those who have been at the sharp end of widening inequalities over the last decade, are being hit the hardest.

‘PHE’s findings add to the growing body of evidence showing that older people, those living in more deprived areas, people from black and minority ethnic groups, and those working in certain occupations are a significantly higher risk of dying from COVID-19. While the reasons for this are complex, there is already enough evidence to justify urgent action to protect these communities from this pandemic to avoid further unnecessary loss of life.

‘Beyond the immediate response to COVID-19, action is needed to ensure that existing health inequalities do not become further entrenched in the aftermath of the pandemic. This report does not address many of the underlying factors causing inequalities in health across different population groups. A further review announced today must consider these wider factors, such as educational and economic disadvantage and racial discrimination.

‘The role of government to support the most vulnerable in society has been clearly shown up in this pandemic. To ensure that those who already face most disadvantage do not continue paying the highest price, the government needs to seize this moment to implement a national health inequalities strategy.’ 

Media contact

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

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