Hackney has third highest coronavirus death rate in country

Views from St Augustine's Tower, looking down on Mare Street and Hackney Central Station and the cit

Views from St Augustine's Tower, looking down on Mare Street and Hackney Central Station and the city on the horizon. Picture: Melissa Page - Credit: Archant

Hackney has the third highest coronavirus mortality rate in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The ONS report shows people in more deprived areas are dying at double the rate of those in more affluent neighbourhoods. Between March 1 and April 18, Hackney had 146 coronavirus-related deaths.

Age-standardised data shows that translates to 127.4 deaths per 100,000 people involving Covid-19 – more than 3.5 times the average for England and Wales. Newham has the highest mortality rate and Brent is second.

Hackney mayor Phil Glanville said the daily challenges faced by those living with deprivation in the borough was the reason for the death rate.

Hackney was last year named the seventh most deprived borough in England in Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data. The borough has an estimated population of 280,000 and is one of the most culturally diverse in the capital.

Mr Glanville said: “They’re very difficult figures to absorb. We’ve all been seeing the reports of people we’ve known that we’ve lost – notable figures, community leaders, NHS staff, bus drivers, and indeed people that have worked for the council – then you see these statistics.

“For me it’s remembering that every statistic is an individual, a community, a family that is hurting and grieving. Hackney has all the challenges that an inner city area has – poverty, health and inequality, more people in manual trades and more people from different backgrounds.

Most Read

“What you see in the statistics are the stark realities of poverty and health inequality and how they play through this terrible disease.

“We’ve known for some time that those with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to the disease, and that’s what we’ve seen playing out in the statistics that we saw on Friday.”

Last week town hall equalities lead Cllr Carole Williams called for an independent review into the impact of the government’s coronavirus response on the borough’s diverse communities.

It follows the government’s announcement that it will review the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on ethnic minorities after evidence from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre found 35 per cent of almost 2,000 critically ill patients were non-white, nearly triple the 13% proportion of the UK population.

In London 44% of all NHS trust staff are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, as are 67% of the adult social care workforce.

According to the 2011 census, just more than a third of Hackney residents described themselves as White British, with Black African at 11.4% and Black Caribbean at 7.8%. Stamford Hill is also home to the largest Charedi community in Europe, which in 2011 made up 7.4% of the population. The borough also has a well established Turkish and Kurdish community, making up more than 5% of the population, and is home to Chinese, Vietnamese, Eastern European and Western European communities.

Last week the council, Public Health, and Hackney Council for Voluntary Services (HCVS) hosted a virtual meeting with a wide-range of minority community groups to discuss the impact of Covid-19.

Issues highlighted include a large increase in demand for mental health services among minority communities. Nichola Lauder of charity Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest said a lot of people from the Black community were contacting its Irie Mind service looking for emotional support or to share their stories.

Ali Aksoy from the Hackney Refugee Forum said long working hours, a lack of protective equipment and bad working conditions in supermarkets and delivery jobs was causing a lot of problems with migrants’ mental health.

It was also highlighted at the meeting that some food packages being donated to families in need were not culturally appropriate. That leaves some vulnerable people still going out to buy food, which adds to the disproportionate impact on minority groups.

Executive director of Healthwatch Hackney Jon Williams also took part in the meeting. He said: “Some communities are under severe strain and are not feeling properly supported, or not understanding how to access support. But there is something else going on which is more complicated. There’s some kind of impact that is disproportionate with BAME groups and more deaths are being reported.

“I’m pleased Public Health England announced a proper review but the important thing is that it’s done quickly with action taken now. We can’t wait on this one – it needs to be a real priority.”

Irie Mind can be contacted at iriemind.org or on 07554 451296.

For the latest coronavirus news from across north London join our Facebook group here. Click here for our directory of support groups for people in Hackney.