The pandemic is having an unequal impact on our already unequal society Health Foundation response to ONS data on deaths involving COVID-19 by local area and socioeconomic deprivation

12 June 2020

Commenting on Office for National Statistics (ONS) analysis of deaths involving COVID-19 by local area and socioeconomic deprivation (between 1 March and 31 May 2020), Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation, said:

'COVID-19 is not a great leveller – the pandemic is having an unequal impact on our already unequal society. Today's data show that people living in the most deprived areas of England are more than twice as likely to die as a result of COVID-19 than those in the least deprived.

'In February 2020, the Marmot Review Ten Years On identified wide and growing levels of health inequality across England, particularly between North and South. Living in socioeconomically deprived areas is associated with poor health and a shorter life and the direct effect of COVID-19 is making these inequalities worse. The wider indirect effects of the pandemic on health – for example from foregone care for other conditions, and ill-health resulting from economic insecurity – are likely to have a similar but longer lasting impact.

'As we recover from the pandemic and face considerable economic uncertainty, the Government has to get much more serious about protecting and improving the health of the population for the future. Much ill-health is avoidable, and not tackling this will hamper economic recovery and attempts to level up. A cross-government strategy to improve health and reduce avoidable inequality is long overdue.'

Media contact

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

Further reading

Long read

Will COVID-19 be a watershed moment for health inequalities?

About 15 mins to read

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the wider governmental and societal response, have brought...

Chart

COVID-19 policy tracker

A timeline to 14 September 2020 of national policy and health system responses to COVID-19 in...

You might also like...

Event

Launch event: COVID-19 impact inquiry

The Health Foundation is launching the COVID-19 impact inquiry, a UK-wide inquiry exploring the...

Event

Webinar: Overcoming short-termism after COVID-19

Could the pandemic be a re-defining moment for how the UK government prepares for uncertainty, plans...

Chart

Use of primary care during the COVID-19 pandemic

There have been dramatic shifts in primary care activities and outcomes in response to the COVID-19...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

'The NHS tops all public polls for big issues facing Britain and if you lose sight of that, then you lose everythin… https://t.co/9loFPjnJjZ

Follow us on Twitter
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