Why did England have Europe’s worst Covid figures? The answer starts with austerity | Michael Marmot | The Guardian

Years of spending cuts and deepening inequality meant the worst off limped into this pandemic in a parlous state• Michael Marmot is professor of epidemiology at University College LondonCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage“The pestilence is at once blight and revelation,” wrote Albert Camus in The Plague, “it brings the hidden truth of a corrupt world to the surface.” If that is true of Covid-19, as it was of the plague of Camus’ novel, then the UK’s dismal record is telling us something important about our society. We are doing badly: dramatic social inequalities in Covid-19 deaths; high rates in black, Asian and minority ethnic groups; and, now, the highest excess mortality in Europe.The statistician David Spiegelhalter, in his wise and clear way, has been counselling us against drawing too much on international comparisons because of differences in the way Covid-19 deaths are assigned. Excess mortality is much more reliable. It is a measure of how many more deaths, from all causes, there were in each week of 2020 compared with how many would have been expected based on the average of the last five years. Continue reading…

Years of spending cuts and deepening inequality meant the worst off limped into this pandemic in a parlous state

• Michael Marmot is professor of epidemiology at University College London

“The pestilence is at once blight and revelation,” wrote Albert Camus in The Plague, “it brings the hidden truth of a corrupt world to the surface.” If that is true of Covid-19, as it was of the plague of Camus’ novel, then the UK’s dismal record is telling us something important about our society. We are doing badly: dramatic social inequalities in Covid-19 deaths; high rates in black, Asian and minority ethnic groups; and, now, the highest excess mortality in Europe.

The statistician David Spiegelhalter, in his wise and clear way, has been counselling us against drawing too much on international comparisons because of differences in the way Covid-19 deaths are assigned. Excess mortality is much more reliable. It is a measure of how many more deaths, from all causes, there were in each week of 2020 compared with how many would have been expected based on the average of the last five years.

Continue reading…


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