Poorest areas of England and Wales hit hardest by Covid-19 – ONS

People living in more deprived areas twice as likely to die from coronavirus, figures show

Aerial view north of Clitterhouse Playing Fields Cricklewood with Wembley Brent Reservoir

The London borough of Brent has the highest age-standardised death rate in England and Wales.
Photograph: Andrew Holt/Getty Images

People living in the poorest areas of England and Wales have been twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as those in less deprived areas, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The analysis reveals the disproportionate impact of the death toll in some places, with London boroughs with high levels of socio-economic deprivation particularly hard hit.

The figures covering March to May show that people living in the poorest 10% of England died at a rate of 128.3 per 100,000, compared with a rate of 58.8 per 100,000 among those living in the wealthiest 10% of the country.

The pattern was also reflected in Wales, where the equivalent rates were 109.5 deaths compared with 57.5 deaths per 100,000.

“General mortality rates are normally higher in more deprived areas, but so far Covid-19 appears to be taking them higher still,” said Nick Stripe, the head of health analysis at the ONS.

The analysis shows that London has experienced the worst burden of Covid-19 deaths, and the virus was involved in more than four in 10 deaths since the start of March. By contrast, in the south-west just over one in 10 deaths involved coronavirus.

By May, the north-east had become the area with the highest proportion of deaths linked to Covid-19, with a rate double that of London.

Nine out of 10 local authorities with the highest Covid-19 age-standardised mortality rates were in London. Brent had the highest overall age-standardised rate, with 210.9 deaths per 100,000 population, followed by Newham (196.8 deaths) and Hackney (182.9).

Critics have previously blamed the impact of austerity in the poorest communities for the disproportionate toll that Covid-19 has taken in these areas.

In its weekly snapshot infection survey, the ONS found that cases of Covid-19 in the community continued to fall this week.

The survey, based on testing of nearly 20,000 people between 25 May and 7 June, found an estimated 33,000 people infected at any time over this period, compared to 53,000 in last week’s figures. The figures exclude infections in hospitals and care homes.