Gov’t Report: Coronavirus related deaths by disability status

A new Government report has been released which focuses on estimates of differences in COVID-19 mortality risk by self-reported disability status and diagnosed learning disability status for deaths occurring up to 20 November 2020, using linked data from the 2011 Census, death registrations, and primary care and hospital records.

Read the full report here, or just the main points below:

Main points

  • Between 24 January and 20 November 2020 in England, the risk of death involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) was 3.1 times greater for more-disabled men and 1.9 times greater for less-disabled men, compared with non-disabled men; among women, the risk of death was 3.5 times greater for more-disabled women and 2.0 times greater for less-disabled women, compared with non-disabled women.
  • Disability status was self-reported as collected in the 2011 Census; those who said in the Census that their day-to-day activities were “limited a little” or “limited a lot” are referred to here as “less-disabled” and “more-disabled” respectively, whereas people reporting no limitation to their activities are referred to as “non-disabled”.
  • After using statistical models to adjust for personal and household characteristics, including residence type, geography, demographic and socio-economic factors, and pre-existing health conditions, a smaller but statistically significantly raised risk of death remained unexplained for more-disabled and less-disabled women (1.4 and 1.2 times respectively) and more-disabled men (1.1 times) but not for less-disabled men.
  • This means that no single factor explains the considerably raised risk of death involving COVID-19 among disabled people, and place of residence, socio-economic and geographical circumstances, and pre-existing health conditions all play a part; 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.
  • Looking at people with a medically diagnosed learning disability, the risk of death involving COVID-19 was 3.7 times greater for both men and women compared with people who did not have a learning disability; after using statistical models to adjust for a range of factors, a raised risk of 1.7 times remained unexplained for both sexes.
  • All the socio-economic and geographical circumstances and pre-existing health conditions considered made some difference to the risk for people with learning disabilities, but the largest effect was associated with living in a care home or other communal establishment.
  • Patterns in excess COVID-19 mortality risk experienced by disabled people remained largely unchanged between the first and second waves of the pandemic.

Read the full report here