Public Health Evidence Bulletin

19th June 2020, no. 291

The impact of coronavirus on City and Hackney residents

Residents of the City of London and Hackney comprise a young and diverse population of about 300,000. Of these, 25% are under 20 years old and 70% are between the ages of 20 and 64 with a relatively small proportion of elderly. There is a vibrant mix of different communities and a large migrant population. Despite improvements in recent years there are still areas of high deprivation, with Hackney ranked 18th most deprived in England by Index of Multiple Deprivation score 2019. The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment has identified several vulnerable population groups in Hackney and the City including those with learning disability, multimorbidity and those who are carers. The NHS shielded list shows that nearly 8,000 people in City and Hackney have been identified as being vulnerable to coronavirus.

Mortality rates 
Coronavirus has had a significant impact on the local population. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that Hackney has the third highest age standardised mortality rate in England for deaths involving Covid-19 between March and May 2020, reflecting a deprived and densely populated urban area. The rate for the City was published as low quality due to the small number of deaths involved.

Trends over time
The peak in the number of local cases and deaths involving Covid-19 infection occurred in early April with numbers declining since (Fig 1). There were no new cases between the 13-17th June and no new deaths in the week 30th May - 5th June. The cumulative trend of confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths by week in Hackney continues to indicate that a plateau has been reached (Fig 2). 

Fig 1 Weekly variations in confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths in City and Hackney

Fig 2 Covid-19 cumulative cases and deaths in City and Hackney

Fig 1 and Fig 2 Data ONS weekly death registrations and Public Health England (PHE) coronavirus cases

The local death records indicate that older people, migrant populations and people from lower socio-economic background are disproportionately represented among the deaths involving COVID-19. 

The recent Public Health England report suggests that people from Black and Asian backgrounds in particular are at much higher risk of infection and death from COVID-19. It argues that inequalities in areas such as occupation, reliance on public transport, household composition, housing conditions and location in densely populated areas, as well as high underlying risk of comorbidities put minority groups at higher risk. In addition, issues of stigma associated with COVID-19, including it becoming mis-represented as a minorities’ disease, have been identified as negatively impacting health seeking behaviours. 

Local support
Hackney and City of London Councils are committed to tackling inequalities. A range of support is available in Hackney including a COVID-19 helpline, humanitarian assistance, financial, housing and business support. Support for residents and businesses is also available in the City of London.

Copyright © 2020 City & Hackney Public Health Team, All rights reserved.

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