People living in more deprived areas of England and Wales are more likely to die of coronavirus than those in more affluent places, new figures suggest.
Office for National Statistics analysis shows there were 55 deaths for every 100,000 people in the poorest parts of England, compared with 25 in the wealthiest areas.
Mortality rates are normally higher in poorer areas,
But the ONS said coronavirus appeared to be adding to the problem.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the report showed the virus thrived on inequality.
“Ministers must target health inequalities with an overarching strategy to tackle the wider social determinants of ill-health,” he said.
Across the country, the highest rates of deaths have been in urban areas where lots of people live. The overall mortality rate in London has been almost double that of the next highest region.
The data also shows the Covid-19 mortality rate in the most deprived areas of England has been higher among men, with 76.7 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 39.6 per 100,000 women.
“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, ONS head of health analysis.
The ONS used the Index of Multiple Deprivation, a relative measure of poverty last updated in 2019.
The index takes into account factors such as an area’s income, employment, crime and health deprivation and disability.
The ONS studied the 20,283 deaths involving Covid-19 that took place between 1 March and 17 April. In England, it found the mortality rate in the most deprived areas was 55.1 deaths per 100,000 population, while the rate was 25.3 deaths per 100,000 in the least deprived areas.
In Wales, statisticians found the most deprived fifth of areas had a mortality rate of 44.6 deaths per 100,000 population, almost twice as high as the rate for the least deprived areas of 23.2 deaths per 100,000.
It also found:
- South-west England had the lowest Covid-19 mortality rate, with 16.4 deaths per 100,000 population
- The council areas with the highest Covid-19 mortality rates were all in London. Newham had the highest rate with 144.3 deaths per 100,000 population, followed by Brent at 141.5 and Hackney at 127.4.