People under 65 in England’s most deprived areas were almost four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than those living in the wealthiest areas, a report has found.
The findings are part of a nine-month inquiry by the charity The Health Foundation into the factors that contributed to the UK’s death rate – which at one point was one of the highest per capita in the world. Although the timing of restrictions were found to be the single biggest factor influencing differences in Covid-19 mortality between countries, cuts to UK public services following the 2008 financial crisis widened health inequalities and weakened the country’s resilience to the pandemic, the inquiry found.
Poorer underlying health left certain groups at greater risk. The mortality rate for people under 65 living in the poorest 10 per cent of neighbourhoods was 3.7 times greater than those in the least-deprived decile of neighbourhoods. Other groups disproportionately exposed to the virus included older people, ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. People working in certain jobs such as taxi drivers and security guards were more likely to die from the virus.
The inquiry highlighted the need for action to reduce health differences and called for more government investment in jobs, public services and communities.