Sunderland has highest rate of Covid deaths in North East since Freedom Day

Sunderland has seen the highest rate of Covid deaths since Freedom Day, figures reveal.

The latest Government figures show there have been 5,892 deaths in England since the country reopened on 19 July, a rate of 10.4 per 100,000 people.

In the North East, 476 people died within 28 days of a positive test between July 19 and September 25, with a rate of 17.8 per 100,000 people the highest of any region in England.

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And in Sunderland, there were 79 deaths in that period, with a rate of 28.4 per 100,000 people giving it the highest death rate in the North East and seventh highest overall in England.

Sunderland has had the highest Covid death rate in the North East since 'Freedom Day' according to Government figures.

The Institute for Public Policy North (IPPR North) said a decade of austerity was responsible for the disproportionately high death rate in the North East of England – and warned the North was in for a tough winter without more urgent action on levelling up.

By contrast, the South East has the lowest death rate in England, recording 569 deaths or a rate of 6.2 per 100,000.

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IPPR research fellow, Dr Parth Patel said: “It isn’t right, and yet it is no surprise, that these figures show Covid-19 deaths have fallen disproportionately on the north of England.

“We know that differences in the conditions in which people live and work determine your risk of catching Covid-19. After over a decade of Westminster’s austerity that has disproportionately affected regions like the North, including by cutting their public health budgets.

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“It couldn’t be more urgent as we enter what is going to be a very tough winter. Covid-19 will continue to affect northerners disproportionately if rhetoric to ‘level up’ is not urgently matched with bolder policy.”

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A Government spokesperson said: “Any death is a tragedy and we know COVID-19 had a disproportionate impact on certain groups which is why Public Health England carried out a rapid review to better understand the relationship between this virus and factors like ethnicity, obesity and deprivation.

“The phenomenal vaccine rollout has built a wall of defence across the country, with over 123,100 lives saved and more than 230,000 hospitalisations prevented.

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“The new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities will lead national efforts to improve and level up the health of the nation by tackling obesity, improving mental health and promoting physical activity.