Adults of working age in England’s poorest areas are nearly four times more likely to die with coronavirus than those in the richest parts, research has found.
Health and wealth are “inextricably connected”, the Health Foundation said. It showed that the Covid-19 mortality rate is 3.7 times higher for under-65s living in the 10 percent most deprived neighbourhoods.
The researchers found that male security guards, care workers and taxi drivers were more likely to die with coronavirus.
People from ethnic minorities, young or disabled people, and those with mental health conditions in particular experienced “worsening and compounding inequalities”. These increased their exposure to the virus and threatened their future health.
The charity analysed data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and other sources between March 2020 and May 2021.
It said that people in the poorest areas had worse underlying health which left them at greater risk when the pandemic hit.
Adults living in the poorest areas were twice as likely to have at least two pre-existing long-term health conditions, such as lung disease or diabetes.
And death rates now are influenced by an earlier phase of austerity.
The inquiry said the results of the 2008 financial crisis had a “direct bearing” on Britain’s resilience to the pandemic.
With public services “eroded”, it said stalling improvements in life expectancy and deepening inequalities over the next decade left Britain more vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic.
The type and quality of people’s employment, housing conditions and access to financial support to self-isolate contributed to increased exposure to the virus among certain groups.
The Health Foundation rightly said these risks to health are “far from inevitable”.
Director of health Jo Bibby said, “We cannot afford to make the same mistake twice. Government must address the root causes of poor health and invest in jobs, housing, education and communities.
“This is the only way to create a healthier society that can meet the challenge ahead and better withstand future crises.”
But winning those changes—and more—will need full scale confrontation with the Tories and the priorities of capitalism.