Coronavirus: Twice as many Covid-19 deaths in Wales' poorer areas

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People living in Wales' most deprived areas are more likely to die of coronavirus than those in more affluent places, new figures suggest.

Office for National Statistics analysis shows 44.6 Covid-19 deaths for every 100,000 people in the poorest 20% of communities in Wales.

In the wealthiest 20% of communities it was 23.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

Newport has suffered the worst rate of coronavirus deaths so far, almost twice as high as the Welsh average.

An interactive ONS map shows the Canton area of Cardiff as the suburb with the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in Wales with 17 up to 17 April.

Of the 27,510 UK deaths, more than 1,000 people have already died in Wales of the virus - with Public Health Wales reporting a further 17 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Cardiff with 147 people has had the most Covid-19 deaths of Wales' 22 local authority areas - a rate of 50.9 per 100,000 people.

But the rate in Newport was 56.5 while Rhondda Cynon Taff and Blaenau Gwent also have rates above 50.

The lowest recorded coronavirus death rate was 5.4 in Ceredigion - but ONS statisticians said the county's figure may not be reliable.

Wales' overall death rate is 28.4 per 100,000 population - lower than the 36.2 average across England and Wales average.

But death rates in three health board areas covering Wales' poorest communities were significantly higher than the country's overall rate.

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board had 46.2 deaths per 100,000 population while the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board - which covers the former Gwent area - had 44.6 deaths per 100,000 population.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board - which covers Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr Tydfil and Bridgend - had 43.7 deaths per 100,000 population.

Death rate higher for men

The ONS stats also show the Covid-19 mortality rate for men in the most deprived five areas of Wales was 61.9 deaths per 100,000 population, compared with 32.0 for women.

"People living in more deprived areas have experienced Covid-19 mortality rates more than double those living in less deprived areas," said Nick Stripe of the ONS.

"General mortality rates are normally higher in more deprived areas, but so far Covid-19 appears to be taking them higher still."

The UK's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the report showed the virus thrived on inequality.

"Ministers must target health inequalities with an overarching strategy to tackle the wider social determinants of ill-health," he said.

Across the UK, the highest rates of deaths have been in urban areas where lots of people live. The overall mortality rate in London has been almost double that of the next highest region.

The data also shows the Covid-19 mortality rate in the most deprived areas of England has been higher among men, with 76.7 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 39.6 per 100,000 women.

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