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Disabled people between 3 and 4 times more likely to die of Coronavirus - ONS

11 February 2021

New data from the Office for National Statistics shows that Disabled people were at more than three times the risk of dying from Coronavirus than non-disabled people between January and November 2020.

The risk was 3.1 times greater for more-disabled men and 1.9 times greater for less-disabled men, compared to 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 to 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 on their activities are referred to as ‘non-disabled’.

The ONS says that: “no single factor explains the considerably raised risk of death involving COVID-19 among disabled people. Place of residence, socio-economic and geographical circumstances, and pre-existing health 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 to non-disabled people. Patterns in excess Coronavirus mortality risk experienced by disabled people remained largely unchanged between the first and second waves of the pandemic.”

The risk for Learning Disabled people was 3.7 times greater for both men and women.

DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “It’s good that the ONS is recognising out loud that Disabled people face disadvantage across all aspects of life, and that they recognise the disproportionate loss of life of Disabled people during this pandemic. This information must feed into the National Strategy for Disabled People to level up life expectancy and day to day experience for Disabled people. Our lives matter. It is shocking and heartbreaking that so many of us have died during this pandemic.”