Hundreds of excess deaths in Luton during coronavirus pandemic
Luton's death toll during the last year of the coronavirus pandemic was hundreds higher than during previous years, figures suggest.
Public Health England recorded 1,978 deaths from any cause registered in Luton between March 21 last year – just days before the UK’s first lockdown – and March 19 this year.
That was 466 more than the 1,512 average annual deaths in Luton, based on the previous five years.
It means there were 30.8% more deaths than expected – higher than the England average of 20%.
So-called “excess deaths” are considered by some as a better measure of the overall impact of Covid-19, as they capture deaths that may have been indirectly caused by the crisis and are not affected by changes in the level of testing.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said there were “complex and deep-rooted” reasons why certain areas have been hit harder by the pandemic than others, including age in the community, ethnicity, levels of deprivation, and what jobs people do.
Dr Doyle added: “These are all factors that can make people more vulnerable to Covid-19. The worst affected communities are likely to have felt the impact of several disparities combined.
“However, we also know that by sticking to the rules, and having the vaccine when offered one, we can all do our part to help protect ourselves and those around us wherever we live.”