The King's Fund responds to the updated ONS data on changes in Covid-19 mortality
Veena Raleigh, Senior Fellow, The King’s Fund responded to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) update on changes in Covid-19 mortality in England among different ethnic groups over the course of the pandemic
‘Today’s figures show both encouraging and worrying patterns. There is no longer evidence of higher Covid-19 mortality among ethnic minority groups compared with the White British group. Declining mortality among ethnic minority groups, who experienced exceedingly high mortality rates in earlier waves, is a welcome trend. However, the small increase in Covid-19 mortality in the White British group in 2022 compared with the latter half of 2021 is worrying; protective measures such as vaccination and reducing exposure to infection continue to be advisable while this virus remains a hazard to health.
‘ONS data also shows that mortality from all causes, which was highest among some ethnic minority groups during earlier stages of the pandemic, returned to pre-pandemic patterns in 2022, with the White British group again having the highest rates. Disaggregated analyses for the White group show that the Gypsy and Irish Traveller group had the highest all-cause mortality among all ethnic groups during the pandemic period. The White Irish group, and the White and Black Caribbean group, also had some of the highest rates.
‘Health inequalities have many dimensions and afflict people of all ethnicities: for example, the millions – including those in White groups – living in deprived communities have significantly shorter and unhealthier lives than those living in more affluent areas, and some ethnic minority groups have the highest mortality from cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Ministers should use the voluminous evidence on health inequalities to actively address the drivers of poor health among disadvantaged citizens, targeting interventions as appropriate to need. Instead, the government has shelved its planned health disparities White Paper. In the wake of the pandemic, this signals a continuation of political failure to address the growing and shameful health inequalities that blight the lives of millions.’
Notes to editors
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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.
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