Research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine finds that disabled people in England are at increased risk of death involving coronavirus (Covid-19) than non-disabled people.
Using the ONS Public Health Data Asset, the study estimates the association between self-reported disability and deaths involving Covid-19 are among more than 29m adults in England.
From 24 January 2020 to 28 February 2021, there were 105,213 deaths involving Covid-19 in England; 58% were deaths of people who were disabled.
After adjusting for age, ‘more disabled people were more than three times as likely to die from causes involving Covid-19 than non-disabled people.
‘Less-disabled’ people were almost twice as likely to die from causes involving Covid-19 than non-disabled people.
Compared to non-disabled people, the relative risk of death was substantially higher for younger disabled people. Among those aged 30 to 69 years, the risk was 8.5 times greater for more disabled women and 5.4 times greater for more disabled men compared with their non-disabled counterparts.
The increased risk of Covid-19 mortality for both younger and older disabled people was partly explained by differences in living circumstances, measures of disadvantage, and pre-existing health conditions.
These findings suggest that a combination of these factors contributed to the increased risk in disabled people.
A government spokesperson said it has been supporting and protecting disabled people from Covid-19 through a range of actions.
‘We recognise this pandemic has been incredibly difficult for disabled people and our deepest sympathies go out to those who have lost loved ones due to this awful virus.
‘Disabled people deserve the best possible care, and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have taken action to protect people using emerging evidence to inform our response.
‘We are determined to eliminate health inequalities and improve the care and health outcomes of thousands of people.
‘The government has provided a range of help for disabled people throughout this period including £3.6m to help charities offer vital projects to improve disabled people’s physical and mental wellbeing.
‘Through our forthcoming National Disability Strategy we are going to go even further in addressing issues that disabled people say affect them the most.’
Photo Credit – Anshu A