Covid-19 data shows which NI post-codes have the highest death rates

  • Data from the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA) shows that Covid-19 deaths in NI have disproportately affected certain postcodes.

    While Northern Ireland has been successfully keeping community transmission rates of Covid-19 down in most areas, new statistics from NISRA show that certain areas have shown much higher death rates from the disease. A full breakdown of Covid-19 deaths by rough postcode was published by NISRA earlier this month in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, with the data itself covering the period up until May 29th.

    The worst affected area was BT4 with 36 of Northern Ireland's 754 deaths up until May 29th, followed by BT13 with 30 deaths, and BT5 with 28 deaths. Even accounting for population numbers in each postcode drawn from the latest census data, these were still among the worst affected areas of Northern Ireland. The ten most affected postcodes all had over 20 deaths registered as of May 29th:

    • BT4 - 36 deaths
    • BT13 - 30 deaths
    • BT5 - 28 deaths
    • BT36 - 27 deaths
    • BT23 - 27 deaths
    • BT17 - 25 deaths
    • BT14 - 24 deaths
    • BT28 - 23 deaths
    • BT15 - 21 deaths
    • BT11 - 21 deaths

    The data highlights that population density and economic deprivation may be playing a much larger role in the outbreak than people may be aware of. The worst affected postcodes are some of the most dense populated areas with the highest ratings on NISRA's deprivation index.

    Higher population density has been shown to increase community transmission rates of the virus in other countries, but we know that there are many there are many other factors affecting the risk of dying complications of Covid-19. Speaking to BBC News on the data this Wednesday, Dr John Moriarty from Queen's University's Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation connected the higher death rates in deprived areas to an increase in underlying health conditions:

    "The geographical distribution of Covid-19 deaths in Northern Ireland is further evidence that the burden of this infection is falling disproportionately on those most deprived," Dr Moriarty explained. "What is clear is that infection in well-off areas isn't causing as many people to go to hospital or to die. [...] The most obvious explanation for the higher deaths from Covid-19 in deprived areas is the level of underlying ill-health which existed in those areas prior to the pandemic."

    The latest official figures published today bring the number of deaths from Covid-19 in Northern Ireland to 844, with 52.1% in hospital, 41.1% in care homes, 0.9% in hospices, and 5.8% in residential addresses or other locations. The Department of Health currently estimates the R value of Covid-19 at 0.5 to 1.0, meaning that the spread of the virus is slowing.

    Source: NISRA press release, NISRA FOI, BBC News

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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