"Coronavirus does not discriminate" - but new analysis from the ONS reveals it does affect some areas far more than others.
People living in the most deprived areas of England have experienced coronavirus mortality rates more than double those living in the least deprived areas, new analysis shows.
For those deaths involving Covid-19 that took place between March 1 and April 17, the mortality rate in the most deprived areas was 55.1 deaths per 100,000 population.
By contrast, the rate was 25.3 deaths per 100,000 in the least deprived areas.
Nick Stripe, ONS head of health analysis, said: "People living in more deprived areas have experienced Covid-19 mortality rates more than double those living in less deprived areas."
Mr Stripe added: "General mortality rates are normally higher in more deprived areas, but so far Covid-19 appears to be taking them higher still."
The analysis, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also shows the Covid-19 mortality rate in the most deprived areas of England has been higher among men (76.7 deaths per 100,000 population) than women (39.6).
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “This is a devastating confirmation that the virus thrives on inequality, with people living in more deprived areas seeing COVID-19 mortality rates more than double those in less deprived areas.
"Labour has long warned of shameful health inequalities which mean the poorest contract illness earlier in life and die sooner."
The ONS has analysed details of the 20,283 deaths that occurred in England and Wales between March 1 and April 17, and which were registered by April 18, where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate as the underlying cause of death or a contributory factor.
It found that:
– London had the highest Covid-19 age-standardised mortality rate, with 85.7 deaths per 100,000 population; this was statistically significantly higher than any other region and almost double the next highest rate of 43.2 in the West Midlands
– South-west England had the lowest Covid-19 mortality rate (16.4 deaths per 100,000 population); the rate for Wales was 28.4, while for England and Wales as a whole the rate was 36.2
– The local authorities with the highest Covid-19 mortality rates were all in London, with Newham having the highest rate (144.3 deaths per 100,000 population) followed by Brent (141.5) and Hackney (127.4)
When examining the impact of deprivation on the Covid-19 mortality rates, the ONS found that in England the rate in the most deprived areas was 118% higher than in the least deprived areas.
This is greater than the difference in the mortality rate for all deaths, which is 88% higher in the least deprived areas.
In Wales, where levels of deprivation are measured differently to England, the ONS found that the most deprived fifth of areas had a Covid-19 mortality rate of 44.6 deaths per 100,000 population.
This is almost twice as high as the rate for the least deprived areas (23.2 deaths per 100,000).
The Covid-19 mortality rate for men in the most deprived fifth areas of Wales was 61.9 deaths per 100,000 population, compared with 32.0 for women.
Coronavirus: Everything you need to know