Newham hit hardest by coronavirus deaths in England and Wales, ONS study shows
PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 May 2020
© David Copeman Photography 2010
Newham has the highest Covid-19 death rate, a study has shown.
The borough has an age-standardised mortality rate of 144.3 deaths involving the virus per 100,000 people, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Jason Strelitz, Newham’s director of public health, described the figure as “shocking and sobering, but unsurprising” in comments on social media.
He explained that population density, homes with several generations, underlying health issues, low paid work, poor air quality and crowded high streets helped explain the number.
Mr Strelitz agreed there was a need to address differences in health and incomes as part of the pandemic’s legacy.
But he warned: “Massive imperative to grapple with this now – if we continue to respond to the pandemic as if we are all equally exposed we will see the same consequences”.
He called for the coronavirus response to focus on the “unequal risks” in Newham, warning they would rise as the lockdown is eased.
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Nationally, London had the highest age-standardised mortality rate with 85.7 deaths per 100,000 persons involving Covid-19, higher than any other region, the ONS study shows.
Brent has the second highest rate with 141.5 deaths per 100,000 residents with Hackney third with a rate of 127.4 deaths.
The ONS analysis covers deaths in England and Wales between March 1 and April 17, registered up to April 18, where the coronavirus was involved.
The death rate for the least deprived area was 25.3 deaths per 100,000 population and the rate in the most deprived area was 55.1 deaths per 100,000. This is 118 per cent higher than the least deprived area.
Nick Stripe, ONS head of health analysis, said: “General mortality rates are normally higher in more deprived areas, but so far Covid-19 appears to be taking them higher still.”
Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said the figures were “extremely alarming” and called for deprived neighbourhoods to get more health funding.
She signalled the council’s Covid-19 public health campaign, targeting black, Asian and minority ethnic communities as well as all vulnerable groups, would be launched soon.
Newham also urged Public Health England to issue “clearer” guidance in different languages to better communicate with “hard to reach groups”.
And Ms Fiaz called for “great caution” on easing lockdown restrictions, warning consideration should be made of the potential impact on “vulnerable” communities.
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