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What the Health Profile for England tells us about the wider health impact of COVID-19

What the Health Profile for England tells us about the wider health impact of COVID-19

  • October 10, 2021

Today we have them. released Health Profile for England 2021 Report.

the Health Profile for England The report offers the most comprehensive overview of the state of health in the country.

As with last year’s reports, this update looks at a range of population health data such as smoking and obesity, but also provides an early summary of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on many aspects of health and health inequalities.

Here we look at five key points made in the report on how the country’s health has been directly and indirectly affected by the pandemic.

  1. Mortality was higher than in previous years

In 2020, COVID-19 was the leading underlying cause of death in men, replacing heart disease, and was the second leading cause of death in women after dementia and Alzheimer’s. As of the end of June 2021, 132,053 deaths with COVID-19 had been recorded mentioned on the death certificate among residents of England.

Between March 21, 2020 and July 2, 2021, deaths across England were 1.14 times higher than expected based on data for the past five years.

The death toll was higher than expected in all age groups over 25, but particularly high among those living in deprived areas (1.17 times higher) and among black and Asian populations (1.50 times higher), respectively reflects the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on these groups. This can be seen in Figures 1 and 2 below.

Figure 1: Cumulative excess mortality rate, by Deprivation, England, week of March 27, 2020 to week of July 2, 2021

Source: PHE excess mortality in England weekly reports

Figure 2: Cumulative excess mortality rate, by ethnic group, England, week of March 27, 2020 to week of July 2, 2021

Source: PHE excess mortality in England weekly reports

  1. Deaths from dementia increased and diagnoses decreased

Dementia and Alzheimer’s remained the leading cause of death in women and the third leading cause of death in men. The number of deaths from dementia continued to rise in 2020, and dementia was reported as the top pre-existing condition in 26% of all COVID-19-related deaths between March and June 2020.

By June 2021 there were around 35,000 fewer people aged 65 and over diagnosed with dementia. Although increased mortality in people with dementia during the pandemic may be a factor, it is also likely due to limited access to services where the diagnosis is made.

Very few GP transfers were made to Memory Assessment Services when it was first blocked, and transfers were down 25% of expected by September 2020. It is estimated that there were 10,000 missed transfers by March 2021.

  1. Health services were not used as often

During the pandemic, hospital admissions, emergency room attendance and the number of doctor visits decreased, especially during the first wave of the pandemic.

Surveys show that half of people whose health deteriorated between May 2020 and January 2021 did not get treatment, most often because they did not want to pressure the NHS or were concerned about contracting COVID-19.

As a result, new diagnoses of some diseases this year have decreased significantly compared to previous years. This includes cancer, for which there were 16% fewer diagnoses between April and December 2020 than in the same months of 2019, as can be seen in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3: Monthly new cancer diagnoses, adjusted for working days, England, January 2018 to April 2021

Source: National Cancer Registration & Analysis Service, PHE COVID-19 rapid cancer registration and treatment data. date accessed: June 8th, 2021 Note: Source data can be revised in future updates. This is most likely to affect the later months in the series.

This reduced exposure to health services can mean that preventive treatment has been missed, but it could also lead to long-term health complications and an increase in deaths in the future, so we can expect the effects of COVID-19 for years to come.

  1. The children’s development may have suffered

Children’s education has been severely impacted during the pandemic. From March 23, 2020 to June 2020, most schools in England were closed to children other than those with parents who were key workers or were deemed at risk.

While the full impact of the pandemic on children’s health and development is and will be a long way from being known, initial studies suggest that children who started school in the fall of 2020 may have additional support compared to children in earlier school years required that learning has suffered to some extent in most students and grades, especially elementary and more disadvantaged students.

Almost all schools have indicated that they are concerned about the young students’ communication and language development, personal, social and emotional development, and levels of literacy, as the children did not experience the social interactions they would normally have such as B. Game dates and interaction with grandparents.

In 2020, one in six children ages five to 16 were diagnosed with a probable mental disorder, up from one in nine in 2017. Children and young adults with a probable mental disorder were more likely to say the lockdown made their lives worse.

  1. Increased alcohol consumption among heavy drinkers likely led to an increase in alcohol-related liver deaths

The number of alcohol-related deaths (deaths caused by alcohol consumption) has increased unprecedented, largely due to increased mortality from alcohol-related liver disease. In 2020, alcohol-related deaths increased by 20% compared to 2019. Although alcohol-related death rates have increased in recent years, this means a significant acceleration in the upward trend.

One recently PHE report Monitoring alcohol use and harm during the pandemic found that the increase in deaths from alcohol-related liver disease “is likely due to increased consumption in an already vulnerable group of heavy drinkers.”

The increased mortality has had an impact on life expectancy

The high number of deaths from COVID-19 caused life expectancy in England to decrease by 1.3 years for men to 78.7 years and by 0.9 years for women to 82.7 years in 2020. This is the lowest life expectancy for both men and women since 2011.

The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities in life expectancy through deprivation to the greatest magnitude we’ve seen in two decades, which is as far back as our data. The gap between the most and least deprived areas in England in 2020 was 10.3 years for men, one year greater than 2019, and 8.3 years for women, 0.6 years greater than 2019, as Figure 4 shows .

Figure 4: Life expectancy, by gender and deprivation decile, England 2019 and 2020

Source: PHE – Tool “Further Health Effects of COVID-19” (WICH)

COVID-19 was the leading cause of death that contributed most to this gap, however higher mortality from heart disease, lung cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases in deprived areas remained important factors. Read more about how life expectancy changed in 2020 here.

We will continue to monitor the health impact of the pandemic as a priority as additional health data becomes available.

Thank You For Reading!


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