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Public Health England's Report on COVID-19 Deaths

Recently, PHE (Public Health England) released a reporting outlining the reasons why certain groups tend to be more at risk, if they were infected with COVID-19.


For the original report, click here.


Why should we be concerned?


COVID-19 is a new illness, so we don't have all the information in order to decide what treatment would be the most effective, who are more and risk and how to prevent the worse outcomes.


Therefore this report is crucial to know who are the most vulnerable, and protect them because this new strain is unpredictable. These results improve our understanding of the pandemic and will help in formulating the future public health response to it.


What does the study show?


Age and Sex


'In previous years, deaths from COVID-19 have a slightly older age distribution, particularly for males. Working age males diagnosed with COVID-19 were twice as likely to die as females. Among people with a positive test, when compared with those under 40, those who were 80 or older were seventy times more likely to die. These are the largest disparities found in this analysis and are consistent with what has been previously reported in the UK.


These disparities exist after taking ethnicity, deprivation and region into account, but they do not account for the effect of comorbidities or occupation, which may explain some of the differences. '


Geography


'London had the highest rates followed by the North West, the North East and the West Midlands. The South West had the lowest. For females the North East and the North West had higher diagnosis rates than London, while London had the highest death rate.


Local authorities with the highest diagnoses and death rates are mostly urban. Death rates in London from COVID-19 were more than three times higher than in the region with the lowest rates, the South West. This level of inequality between regions is much greater than the inequalities in all cause mortality rates in previous years.'


Deprivation


'People who live in deprived areas have higher diagnosis rates and death rates than those living in less deprived areas. The mortality rates from COVID-19 in the most deprived areas were more than double the least deprived areas, for both males and females. This is greater than the inequality seen in mortality rates in previous years, indicating greater inequality in death rates from COVID-19.'


Ethnicity


'Death rates from COVID-19 were highest among people of Black and Asian ethnic groups. This is the opposite of what is seen in previous years, when the mortality rates were lower in Asian and Black ethnic groups than White ethnic groups. Therefore, the disparity in COVID-19 mortality between ethnic groups is the opposite of that seen in previous years.'


This because of a number of reasons:

  • BAME communities tend to live in cities, where it is crowded

  • BAME individuals work in occupations that expose those to the virus more e.g. NHS

  • BAME individuals tend to take public transport more

  • BAME individuals tend to suffer more from CVD

  • Socio-economic factors affect the overall health of BAME communities, especially Black Caribbeans and Bangladeshis (one socio-economic factors are removed the disparities aren't as drastic)


*in a leaked report structural racism also plays a major part in these death rates


Conclusion


These results show more is needed to be done to protect people in these groups because these show pre-existing issues before the pandemic.

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