Last month in New York – A City Divided by a Virus we saw how the poorer and more diverse neighborhoods of New York were being hit harder by the coronavirus epidemic than New York’s more affluent boroughs. This is a trend which has started to be noticed in other locations around the world. In New York, London and Paris it is clear that people living in the most deprived neighborhoods are suffering more from Covid-19.
Yesterday the UK’s Office for National Statistics released a report into Deaths involving COVID-19 by local area and socioeconomic deprivation. The report looks at Covid-19 mortality rates at the local authority level in England & Wales. An interactive map, accompanying the report, visualizes these local authority Covid-19 mortality rates across both England & Wales.
The map reveals that the mortality rate for Covid-19 is more than twice the rate in the most deprived neighborhoods in England (55.1 deaths per 100,000 people) compared with the least deprived (25.3 per 100,000 people). In other words the mortality rate is twice as high in the most deprived areas as it is in the least deprived areas.
For example the London Borough of Newham (where I happen to live) has the highest age-standardised mortality rate for Covid-19 deaths in England & Wales. Newham is also one of the most deprived boroughs in the country. The Guardian reports that more than half of children in Newham live in poverty. The borough also has the most diverse population of any local authority, with 78% of the borough being from ethnic minorities.
In France is blaming the poor for their own deaths the Washington Post says that in Paris low-income neighborhoods also have ‘abnormally high’ death rates. The Post’s article discusses some of the reasons why poorer and more ethnically diverse neighborhoods might be being hit harder by Covid-19 than more affluent areas. These include issues such as overcrowded living conditions, worse access to health care and more key essential workers who are still having to work and use public transport. Another factor may be that more deprived areas have higher numbers of residents with underlying health problems.
Whatever the reasons it is becoming clear that in the age of Covid-19 inequality can seriously effect your chances of living. While the rich get the money the poor get the graves.