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Deprived areas hit twice as hard by coronavirus

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The most deprived parts of England and Wales have been hit twice as hard by coronavirus as the best-off areas, the Office for National Statistics said.

Urban areas were markedly worse effected than rural areas.

And London had significantly more deaths from coronavirus per 100,000 people than any other region.

Mortality rates are “normally higher in more deprived areas” and coronavirus appeared to be “increasing this effect”, an ONS statistician said.

In England, once you adjust for the age of population, there were 128 deaths involving Covid-19 per 100,000 people in the population in the most deprived areas.

The least deprived areas saw more than twice that rate (60 deaths per 100,000) in March, April and May.

In Wales a similar pattern was seen with a rate of 110 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 in the most deprived areas – just under twice the rate of 58 deaths per 100,000 in the least deprived.

There was also a clear link between coronavirus mortality and how densely populated an area is.

Between March and May, areas classified as a “urban major conurbations” experienced 124 Covid deaths per 100,000, compared with 74 per 100,000 in an “urban city or town”, 59 in rural towns and 48 in rural villages.

Broadly, the more people come into contact with each other in a given area, the better infection spreads.

There may also be some overlap with the deprivation effect.

Deprivation effect ‘increased’

Nine out of the 10 local authorities with the highest mortality rate from coronavirus, adjusted for age, were in London.

  • The borough of Brent had the highest rate with 211 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Newham and Hackney
  • The only local authority outside London in the top 10 was Middlesbrough
  • Salford and Hertsmere in the top 20 worst-hit areas.

But by May the outbreak had shifted away from London and the region with the highest age-adjusted Covid-19 mortality rate was the north east.

The ONS’s head of mortality analysis Sarah Caul said, “General mortality rates are normally higher in more deprived areas, but Covid-19 appears to be increasing this effect.

“Although London had some of the highest Covid-19 mortality rates in the country during March and April, it is now experiencing lower mortality rates compared with most areas.

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