Excess deaths as a result of the Covid pandemic saw the life expectancy drop to its lowest level in almost a decade, according to health officials.
Life expectancy is at its lowest level since 2011.
The Health Profile for England 2021 report was published on Wednesday.
Its report stated: “This demonstrates that the pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities in life expectancy by deprivation.
“Covid-19 was the cause of death that contributed most to the gap last year, however, higher mortality from heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic lower respiratory diseases in deprived areas remained important contributors.”
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease remained the leading cause of death in England in women and the third largest in men, PHE said.
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Also, it found dementia was the main pre-existing health condition in around a quarter of all deaths involving Covid-19 between March and June last year.
Around 35,000 fewer people aged 65 and over with a diagnosis of dementia, PHE said.
Half of people with a health condition getting worse between May last year and January 2021 did not seek treatment because people feared catching Covid and didn’t want to add to the pressure on the NHS.
There has been a “unprecedented” rise in deaths caused by alcohol use, up 20% last year compared to 2019, PHE said.
In conclusion, PHE said: “The report has highlighted how the direct impact of Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionally affected people from ethnic minority groups, people living in deprived areas, older people and those with pre-existing health conditions.
“There have been substantial indirect effects on children’s education and mental health, and on employment opportunities across the life course, but particularly for younger people working in sectors such as hospitality and entertainment.
“In addition, it is clear that access and use of a range of health services has been disrupted during the pandemic and the long-term effects of this is not yet realised.”
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