Coronavirus most severe among deprived communities in Southend

New data has revealed that people living in the most deprived areas of Southend are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research by Southend Council’s public health team has shown the death toll among those living in the most deprived areas, such as Kursaal, is significantly higher than those living in more affluent areas like Leigh or Thorpe Bay.

The trend is broadly in line with what the Office of National Statistics has noted across the country but it represents the first look into how different demographics in Southend are affected.

Councillor Trevor Harp (Ind), who oversees health and social care, said: “Those living in the most deprived areas of Southend unfortunately have more chance of dying of coronavirus, than those in the least three deprived areas.

“Deprivation takes into account where you live, your level of poverty, overall personal health and access to healthcare, and this all has an impact on your survival rate should you catch COVID-19.

“Due to the geography of the borough and the close proximity of these areas with different levels of deprivation, it is essential that as a borough we come together to look after one another and follow the Government guidance, maintain social distancing by staying apart at least two metres from anyone you don’t live with, use common sense and wash your hands regularly and properly as a matter of course.”

According to a graph published by the public health team, the most deprived sections of the borough have suffered a total of 85 deaths from Covid-19 while the least deprived have seen 62.

Councillor Matt Dent (Lab), who represents the Kursaal ward, said it was a “great concern” to see that those at the bottom are who suffer the most.

“I’ve heard some people call this the ‘great leveller’ but it is simply not true, you are more likely to die in a deprived area and you are more likely to die if you are BAME,” he said.

“This just shows the great dangers of inequality in our society. When something like this rolls around, it is the people at the bottom who are most vulnerable.”

He added that the data is also a warning that economic recovery should not mean more austerity.

“Under austerity we saw inequality explode in 10 years, while it pre-existed austerity it did make it worse,” he said.

“We are now facing a global pandemic and austerity has clearly put the entire country in a poorer position to fight it, as well as put those at the bottom at much greater risk.”


Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter