Covid-19 has exposed 'deep inequalities and stark differences in life expectancy': The King's Fund responds to ONS statistics on Covid-19 deaths and socioeconomic deprivation

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Commenting on the latest Office for National Statistics report, Deaths involving Covid-19 by local area and socioeconomic deprivation: May 2020, Veena Raleigh, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, said:

‘Covid-19 continues to follow the fault lines of inequality, with people in the poorest neighbourhoods more than twice as likely to be killed by the virus as those in the richest areas. Preventable conditions including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes are major risk factors for dying from Covid-19, and these disproportionately affect people living in disadvantaged areas and from ethnic minority backgrounds. The virus has underlined the deep inequalities and stark differences in life expectancy that exist between different population groups and areas of the country.

‘The unequal death toll from Covid-19 in certain sections of society should be a wake-up call for the government to make improving the population’s health and tackling health inequalities an urgent priority. We need a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities, increased investment in prevention and public health, and action to tackle the underlying socio-economic inequalities at the root of preventable ill health and mortality.’

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.