Statistics: Disabled People Account For 59% of COVID-19 Deaths

The Government has published an analysis of Coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by disability status, in England and Wales during the period 2 March to 14 July 2020. It reveals just how vulnerable to to the virus people with various disabilities have been. We’ve published the main points of the analysis below, plus links to the full document, which has a huge amount of detail.

Analysis of Coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by disability: Main points

  • This analysis compares the risk of death involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) according to a person’s disability status as recorded in the 2011 Census; people are counted as disabled if they said their daily activities were limited a little or limited a lot by a health problem or disability lasting or expected to last at least 12 months, in this data source.
  • Disabled people (as defined) made up almost 6 in 10 (59%) of all deaths involving COVID-19 in this period; disabled people made up around 16% of the study population followed from the 2011 Census.
  • Among all deaths involving COVID-19 of males aged 9 to 64 years in this period, the proportion made up by disabled people (those limited a little or limited a lot in their day-to-day activities) was smallest at 39%; among all deaths involving COVID-19 of females aged 65 years and over in this period, the proportion made up by disabled people was largest, at 67% of these deaths.
  • Among both males and females aged 9 years and over, those who were either disabled and limited a lot or disabled and limited a little in 2011 had a statistically significant higher age standardised mortality rate (ASMR) of death involving COVID-19 in this period than those who were non-disabled; male and female disabled people who were limited a lot had a statistically significantly higher ASMR of death involving COVID-19 than disabled people who were limited a little.
  • Disabled males whose activities were limited a lot at the 2011 Census had an overall age-standardised rate of death involving COVID-19 of 240.8 deaths per 100,000; for disabled females, the rate was 169.9 deaths per 100,000; the equivalent rates for males and females who were non-disabled in 2011 were 84.2 and 44.4 deaths per 100,000 respectively.
  • After adjusting for region, population density, socio-demographic and household characteristics, the relative difference in mortality rates between those disabled and limited a lot and those non-disabled was 2.4 times higher for females and 2.0 times higher for males.
  • Our research was based on linking deaths to the 2011 Census, the most timely data available, including people aged 9 years and over; we used a regression model to adjust for specific characteristics for people in private households at the time of the census; we aim to undertake further analysis that takes into account other characteristics such as pre-existing health conditions.

Read the full analysis on the Office For National Statistics’ website.