Courtenay K, Perera B. COVID-19 and people with intellectual disability: impacts of a pandemic. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine. 2020; 37:(3)231-236

Public Health England. Deaths of people identified as having learning disabilities with COVID-19 in England in the spring of 2020. 2020a. (accessed 1 December 2020)

Public Health England. Disparities in the risk and outcome of COVID-19. 2020b. (accessed 1 December 2020)

Inequality: it's life and death

10 December 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 22

Those with learning disabilities are dying of COVID-19 at more than six times the rate of the general population, according to a review undertaken by Public Health England (PHE) (2020a). It is important to note that the data presented is likely to be an underestimation of true figures. Not all COVID-19 deaths among people with learning disabilities are recorded and some of the sources used are incomplete, with eligible deaths being reported at only 65%. Analysis of data came from three key sources: NHS England's COVID-19 Patient Notification System (which records deaths in hospital settings), the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) and Care Quality Commission death notifications. The total number of deaths in those adults with learning disabilities for the 11 weeks from 21 March to 5 June 2020 was 2.2 times the average number for the corresponding period in the two previous years. The number of deaths in the general population was 1.5 times the average.

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