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The devastating impact of coronavirus on London as it swept through deprived communities is laid bare today.
New figures show the death rate in the capital per 100,000 people is almost double any other region. The 11 hardest- hit areas in the country were all in London, according to the analysis by the Office for National Statistics.
Newham had the highest age-standardised mortality rate with 144.3 deaths per 100,000 population, followed by Brent 141.5 deaths, and Hackney 127.4.
Nick Stripe, head of health analysis and life events at the ONS, said: “By mid-April, the region with the highest proportion of deaths involving Covid-19 was London, with the virus being involved in more than 4 in 10 deaths since the start of March.
“The 11 local authorities with the highest mortality rates were all London boroughs, with Newham, Brent and Hackney suffering the highest rates of Covid-19-related deaths.
“People living in more deprived areas have experienced Covid-19 mortality rates more than double those living in less deprived areas.”
The figures were published as the Government is facing growing accusations that it was too slow in ordering the lockdown, despite warnings from Italy about the threat from coronavirus.
The capital saw the number of cases soar far quicker than other regions and more than 5,000 people have now died with coronavirus in London’s hospitals — with hundreds more in care homes.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “Coronavirus is not the great-leveller. It is hitting people from minority ethnicities and more deprived communities more than anywhere else.” The ONS analysed nearly 20,300 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales between March 1 and April 17.
It revealed huge differences between some of London’s poorest and more ethnically diverse areas and those that are more prosperous, heightening concern about the different death rates.
Newham with 208 deaths, Brent, 304, Hackney, 146, Haringey, 168, and Tower Hamlets, 132, all had age-standardised fatality rates above 100 per 100,000 residents. By contrast, the death rate in Kingston upon Thames was 42.9, representing 57 deaths, while in Richmond the death rate stood at 47 after 77 deaths, a similar rate to Bromley, with 152 deaths.
The figures are age-standardised. Age-standardised figures are used to make fair comparisons between boroughs, regardless of the actual age of their residents.
The way London’s most diverse boroughs have been hit by Covid-19 is also illustrated by the deaths at each hospital trust.
London North West Healthcare, which takes most of its patients from Brent, Harrow and Ealing, has the highest death toll in London — 488 to date.
London portraits during the Coronavirus lockdown
Barts Health, which has five hospitals serving Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham, has recorded 388 deaths. There have been 127 deaths at Homerton hospital in Hackney.
The overall rate for London was 85.7 deaths per 100,000 people, almost double the next highest which was the West Midlands, at 43.2, with the South-West the lowest on 16.4.
The grim data came as boroughs faced calls to widen pavements and temporarily carve space for segregated cycle routes to enable Londoners to maintain social distancing.
A UCL study found two thirds of pavements in the capital were not wide enough for pedestrians to stay 2m apart, as required by the Government’s social distancing rules. Only 36 per cent of pavements in Greater London were at least 3m wide — judged to be the minimum required for people to be able to keep their distance.
Dr Ashley Dhanani, of The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, said: “Most streets in London have pavements which are just over 2m wide — this is not enough room for people to pass each other and leave 2m distance between them, especially with obstacles such as bins, trees and lampposts.
“While some may opt to walk in the road, this is not possible for people with pushchairs or with mobility impairments. This research shows there is an urgent need to reallocate street space in London so everyone can use streets safely. A lack of space for walking and cycling is also a long-term problem.”
Boroughs such as Haringey, Hackney and Sutton have begun to create wider pavements and temporary cycle lanes by placing traffic cones in the road.
With many commuters expected to shun the Tube and buses once lockdown is lifted, Transport for London says it plans to introduce temporary cycle lanes on its main roads.
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