Coronavirus mortality rates halved in all but two regions between April and May

12 June 2020, 13:59

Members of the public wear masks on Market Street, Manchester
Members of the public wear masks on Market Street, Manchester. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Coronavirus mortality rates more than halved in all but two regions in England and Wales between April and May, figures show.

Age-standardised mortality rates fell by more than 50 per cent in all regions except the North East and Yorkshire and The Humber , the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

There were 81.9 deaths involving Covid-19 per 100,000 people in England and 67.6 per 100,000 in Wales between March 1 and May 31.

The local authority with the highest Covid-19 mortality rate in May was Preston in Lancashire, with a rate of 51.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

There were an estimated 33.1 deaths involving Covid-19 per 100,000 population in north-east England across the month, compared with 15.7 per 100,000 in London.

The North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest mortality rates in May, as London coronavirus deaths dropped.

The greatest decrease was in London, where the mortality rate fell by 83.3 per cent.

This came after London had recorded the highest rate in both March and April, with rates of 27.8 deaths per 100,000 population and 94.1 deaths per 100,000 respectively.

South-west England had the lowest mortality rate overall during each of the last three months.

The figures are based on all deaths that occurred in March, April and May 2020 where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, and which had been registered by June 6.

Except in London, mortality rates in May were still higher than in March.

The ONS said as more deaths are registered the mortality rate is likely to increase, especially in May.

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Friday's figures show that people living in the most deprived areas of England continue to experience coronavirus mortality rates more than double those living in the least deprived areas.

There were 128.3 deaths per 100,000 people in the most deprived areas – 118 per cent higher than the 58.8 deaths per 100,000 in the least deprived parts of the country.

This is greater than the difference in the mortality rate for all deaths, which is 92.2 per cent higher than in the least deprived areas.

In Wales, where deprivation is measured differently, the most deprived fifth of areas had 109.5 coronavirus deaths per 100,000 population, nearly twice as high as the least deprived areas (57.5 deaths per 100,000 population).

Dave Innes, head of economics at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: "Before the pandemic hit, there were signs that our record on tackling poverty and health inequalities was unravelling. Covid-19 has laid bare just how stark those inequalities are.

"It is completely unacceptable that someone's life chances are so profoundly affected by where they live. Today's statistics must act as a wake-up call - as a society with a strong sense of decency and compassion, we can and must do better."

Over the three months, London had the overall highest mortality rate, with 137.6 deaths per 100,000 people - more than a third higher than the next highest region.

Nine of the 10 local authorities with the highest Covid-19 mortality rates during this period were London boroughs.

Brent had the highest rate with 210.9 deaths per 100,000 population, followed by Newham (196.8 deaths per 100,000 population) and Hackney (182.9 deaths per 100,000 population).

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