Hundreds die from Covid-19 since Freedom Day in the West Midlands

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BirmnghamWorld data team has analysed government figures to see how Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell are affected by deaths from Covid-19 since government restrictions were eased

The West Midlands has seen a death rate from people with a positive Covid-19 test more than double that of the South East since Freedom Day, analysis by BirminghamWorld shows.

There have been 738 deaths across all of the West Midlands since coronavirus restrictions were eased on July 19.

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This is a rate of 12.4 per 100,000 people. The South East has had the lowest number of deaths with 6.2 per 100,000 people.

The worst-affected for all of England is the North East which saw a rate of 17.8 per 100,000 people.

These government figures are from Freedom Day up to September 25 and refer to deaths after a positive Covid-19 tests - the infection may not have been the sole reason each of the deaths included in the statistics.

During this period there were 5,892 deaths in England in total with the deaths which is a rate of 10.4 per 100,000 people.

The West Midlands deaths account for 13% of this total.

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Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell  Covid-19 death rates since freedom day until September 25

Sandwell had one of the highest death rates in the region with 70 deaths recorded with a rate more than double that of the English average at 21.3 per 100,000. Staffordshire Moorlands also recorded 21.3 per 100,000.

In Birmingham there were 176 deaths - which is 15.4 per 100,000 people, also much higher than the English average. It is the sixth highest in the West Midlands.

Solihull recorded 27 deaths - which is 24.4 per 100,000 people. The eighth highest out of the 29 different areas in the region.

What can be done to bring Covid-19 rates down in the West Midlands?

There is no official reason given Covid-19 death rate in the West Midlands.

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BirminghamWorld spoke to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), a leading progressive think tank to find out what their view was.

Chris Thomas, senior research fellow and lead for health and care research at IPPR said: "These shocking, but tragically unsurprising findings, show Covid-19 deaths have fallen disproportionately in the West Midlands.

"The evidence is clear that the material conditions of the places people live determine their risk of catching Covid-19. This means areas where Westminster austerity hit hardest, including the West Midlands, were disproportionately impacted.

"IPPR research has also shown that Birmingham experienced some of the highest public health cuts in the last decade. This meant more, avoidable cases of the ‘underlying health conditions’ that put people at particular risk during the last 18 months.”

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Cllr Suzanne Hartwell said: “People in Sandwell are vulnerable to the impact of Covid-19. We are ranked as the 8th most deprived area in the country in the Government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation and the 2nd most deprived in relation to income. We have a very high proportion of people who work in factories, processing plants and other jobs that put them in crowded places every day. We also have many people who live in multi-generational households, which also puts them at high risk.

“The Sandwell community has worked hard to respond to this challenge, which is far from over. At the moment, our infection rates are lower than the regional average and that is down to local people doing their best to look after themselves and each other.”

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