England: Covid-19 deaths higher among people with disability

19 March 2021

Almost six out of every 10 people (59.5%) who died from Covid-19 in England in 2020 were disabled, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says. 

But disabled people made up 17.2% of the study population, suggesting they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.  

Breaking down the figures, of the 50,888 deaths involving Covid-19 between January and November last year, 30,296 of those who died were people with a disability.  

After further analysis, the ONS study concluded that ‘an important part of the raised risk is because disabled people are disproportionately exposed to a range of generally disadvantageous circumstances compared with non-disabled people’.  

Mehrunisha Suleman, senior research fellow at the Health Foundation, said: ‘[The] figures clearly show that current measures to protect disabled people are not enough and that there is an urgent need for more and better support.’

The ONS study also suggested that people with a medically diagnosed learning disability have been disproportionately impacted – 5.8% of all deaths involving Covid-19 for the same period were people with a learning disability, yet they only made up 1.2% of the ONS study population.

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