Exploring vulnerability to COVID19 between communities in England

PLDR conducted a cross-sectional ecological analysis across 6,789 Middle Super Output Areas (MSOAs) in England. 

They used data provided by ONS on COVID-19 deaths of patients as occurred in England between 1 March and 31 May 2020. The data are based on the date the death occurred and COVID-19 was the underlying cause or was mentioned on the death certificate as a contributor factor (ICD-10 codes: U07.1 and U07.2).

They assessed the association between mortality from COVID-19 in each area and the proportion of the population:

  • from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds,
  • living in care homes,
  • living in overcrowded housing and
  • having been admitted in the past 5 years for a long-term health condition

Adjustments were made for the age profile of each area and to account for the regional spread and duration of the epidemic.

The model was then used to produce the Small Area Vulnerability Index (SAVI) for each MSOA that indicates the relative increase in COVID-19 mortality risk that results from the level of each of the 4 vulnerability measures for each MSOA.

The findings indicate high levels of vulnerability to COVID-19 are clustered within the North West, West Midlands and North East regions. Control measures and policies to shield certain groups need to take into account these factors targeting resources and proportionate to the greater needs experienced by some communities.

The Place-based Longitudinal Data Resource (PLDR) 

The Place-Based Longitudinal Data Resource (PLDR) brings together datasets that track changes in the determinants of health and health outcomes, in places over time. These are used by researchers, local government, the NHS and the third sector to understand what works to improve public and health, what doesn’t and what can cause harm.

The PLDR was established by the NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) Collaboration for Leadership in Health Research and Care, North West Coast (CLAHRC NWC). It is based at the University of Liverpool.