Thursday, May 14, 2020

Paying the ultimate price for being poor

New analysis reveals that people living in the most deprived areas of Scotland are more than twice as likely to die from coronavirus as those living in the wealthiest parts.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) analysis found that people living in the most deprived areas of Scotland were 2.3 times more likely to die with Covid-19 than those living in the least deprived areas. The NRS analysis also found that the gap between rich and poor was smaller when considering the rate of deaths from all causes, at 1.9 times higher in the most deprived 20% than in the least deprived 20% compared with 2.3 times for coronavirus.

The death rate tends to be higher in councils that have high concentrations of deprived areas.

Inverclyde local authority, which contains a large proportion of areas in the most deprived quintile in Scotland, continues to have the highest Covid-19 death rate in the country, at 13.2 per 10,000 people, compared with the national rate of 5.8 per 10,000. Glasgow, which also has significant areas of deprivation in the city, has a death rate of 8.05 by this measure.

Dr Muge Cevik, a clinical academic specialising in infectious diseases at the University of St Andrews, described the virus as “a magnifying glass that highlights existing health inequalities”.
“We know that there is a correlation between deprivation, overcrowding and pandemic hotspots. With Glasgow, we know that it is the most densely populated city in Scotland, with the lowest life expectancy and very high deprivation levels, as well as being the most ethnically diverse area of the country. People who face the highest deprivation also experience the highest risk of exposure and existing poor health puts them at risk of more severe outcomes”.
Peter Kelly, director of Poverty Alliance, said: “It’s scandalous that people’s life chances should be so dependent on their income. These figures add to mounting evidence that people already living in the grip of poverty are feeling the effects of this crisis the most. This is particularly true of women, black and minority ethnic communities and disabled people. It’s crucial that action is taken in the short term to protect those being disproportionately affected, but also that – in the longer term – our economic recovery prioritises addressing the inequalities that this crisis has so exposed.”

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