Covid: Disabled people account for six in 10 deaths in England last year - ONS

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Nearly six out of every 10 people who died with coronavirus in England last year were disabled, figures suggest.

Some 30,296 of the 50,888 deaths between January and November were people with a disability, Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows.

It also suggests the risk of death is three times greater for more severely disabled people.

Charities have called for urgent government action, describing the data as "horrifying and tragic".

The ONS figures suggest disabled people were disproportionately affected by the pandemic - accounting for 17.2% of the study population but nearly 60% of coronavirus deaths.

Among women, the risk of death involving coronavirus was 3.5 times greater for more-disabled women - defined as having their day-to-day activities "limited a lot" by their health - compared with non-disabled women.

For less-disabled women, defined as having their day-to-day activities "limited a little", the risk was two times greater.

Compared to non-disabled men, the data showed that the risk was 3.1 times greater for more-disabled men, and 1.9 times greater for less-disabled men.

Looking at people with a medically diagnosed learning disability, the risk of death involving Covid was 3.7 times greater for both men and women compared with people who did not have a learning disability.

'Lives cruelly cut short'

The ONS said an "important part" of the increased risk was because disabled people were "disproportionately exposed to a range of generally disadvantageous circumstances" compared with non-disabled people.

James Taylor, from disability equality charity Scope, said disabled people had been "hardest hit" by the pandemic and there was "an urgent need for the government to act".

"Behind these horrifying and tragic figures are individual stories of disabled people whose lives have been cruelly cut short by coronavirus."

Richard Kramer, chief executive of national disability charity Sense, said that throughout the pandemic disabled people had "largely been forgotten, left without sufficient support, information and communication".

"The government must act now, planning its way out of lockdown with disabled people and their family's needs prioritised, to show that it's learnt from the mistakes of the past year."

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