Covid victims ‘lost average of 10 years of life’ with huge gaps between rich and poor


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A new study lays bare huge inequalities across England and Wales – with 11 times more younger people dying in deprived areas than wealthier places

Men lost an average of 10.5 years in expected life in the first months of the pandemic, a new study shows
Men lost an average of 10.5 years in expected life in the first months of the pandemic, a new study shows

Covid victims who died at the start of the pandemic would otherwise have lived around 10 more years on average, a heartbreaking study found – with a huge gap between rich and poor.

Researchers said men who died from the virus lost an average of 10.5 years of life, while women lost 9.6 years.

The figures lay bare huge inequalities across England and Wales – with 11 times more younger people dying in deprived areas than wealthier places.

Experts from the Universities of Manchester and York estimate that more than 760,000 years of expected life were lost between March and December 2020 alone – with those in poorer areas bearing the brunt.

They concluded that people in deprived areas of the North West lost three times the number of excess years than those in the South East – due to younger people dying.

A lead researcher said the data shows the impact of the pandemic could be higher in most deprived areas than previously thought, with the Covid crisis widening pre-existing health inequalities.

People in the North West lost three times the number of excess years as those in the South East
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

Academics looked at the number of people who died from all causes and the age at which the deaths occurred.

They found that between March and December 2020 an estimated 763,550 expected years of life were lost – 15 per cent higher than the previous year.

Researchers said 85 per cent of these deaths were directly linked to Covid or another respiratory disease.

In London 126,761 excess years were lost, while in the North West the figure was 121,017 – compared to 35,032 in the South West.

This indicates that a far greater number of younger people – who would otherwise have lived much longer – died in these areas.

On average people in affluent areas lost an estimated 9.1 years of expected life, while in the most deprived places the number was 10.8 years.

The study highlights huge gaps between rich and poor areas, the authors said
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Image:

Adam Gerrard/Sunday Mirror)

The number of younger people dying from all causes in the most deprived areas was 11 times higher than in the most affluent, researchers found – with an estimated 480 excess deaths of 15-to-44 year olds in poorer areas compared to 42 in wealthier areas .

Evan Kontopantelis, Professor of Data Science & Health Services Research at The University of Manchester, said: “The pandemic widened pre-existing health inequalities across England and Wales: regions and social groups with the highest baseline mortality rates experienced the greatest impact on years of life lost.

“Linked to this, we think the impact of the pandemic may have been higher than previously thought on the most deprived areas of England and Wales, with more younger people dying directly or indirectly from Covid-19 in these areas.”

The study found that those living in deprived areas lost 1,645 years per 100,000 in the population – compared to 916 in wealthier places, the study found.

Professor Tim Doran from the University of York said: “Our findings support the notion that Years of Life Lost can be more informative for determining unmet needs and informing policy for this or future pandemics.

“In particular, it could provide vital information to aid the targeting of vaccines, financial aid and social support during this and future pandemics.”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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