Data released by the Office of National Statistics has revealed ‘a clear and worrying trend’, according to health think tank, the Health Foundation. ‘That deaths in the most deprived areas are more than double those in the least deprived.’
David Finch, senior fellow at the Health Foundation, says it is ‘too early to say what is driving the trend,’ but added: ‘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.’
Finch qualified his remarks by saying the link to deprivation is complex, as the virus has spread more in densely populated urban areas, but said the Government needed to ensure that support was in place for more deprived communities. ‘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,’ he said.
The ONS report has followed analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) which suggests that black coronavirus patients are dying at almost triple the rate of white ones, which the IFS suggested was because they are more likely to be ‘employed in keyworker roles which might put them at risk’.
Last week the new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer announced that the anti-racist campaigner Baroness Lawrence would lead a review into the impact of the virus on BAME communities.