BOBI Award Submission – Highest Drivers of Covid-19

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Author: Gary Bennett

New award-winning analysis of Coronavirus cases and deaths by English regions[1] has found that areas with high risk of personal and material victimisation[2], income deprivation among under 60s and low skills and attainment[3] suffered higher death rates from COVID-19. Significantly, areas with high proportions of non-white residents and over 70s also had higher deaths per head of population when controlling for other relevant factors.

Total reported cases per head were driven to an even greater extent by non-white ethnicity (this was the joint top driver along with deprivation measures[4]) and by the proportion of the population who were in the 25-69 age group, with higher proportions in this age-band driving more cases. It follows that the proportion in this working age group drives-up cases whereas the proportion aged over 70 drives deaths.

The effect of age is most noticeable in the analysis of ‘deaths per reported case’ which neutralises differences in reporting effects across regions. The higher the proportion of over 70s relative to under 25s in a region, the higher its number of deaths per case.

The statistical analysis was of a wider submission by Purdie Pascoe and the Stats People telling the story of Covid-19 which won the Analyst Team of the Year category (sponsored by OPEN Health) in the BHBIA[5] Best of Business Intelligence (BOBI) Awards[6].

Gary Bennett of the Stats People comments “It is clear from this analysis that the most deprived communities have been hit the hardest by COVID-19. It is concerning that after controlling for deprivation and age and other population differences, areas with high proportions of non-white residents suffered significantly more cases and deaths per head than those that do not

Stephen Potts from Purdie Pascoe comments “the difference in COVID survival rate between regions with high proportions over 70s and low proportions of under 25s is stark, with deaths among infected people much higher in regions with high proportions of over 70s”

1: Supporting Visuals

2: Key Drivers

3: Maps Of Death And Cases Per 1000 Population

This is the full submission of the analysis I am Smarticus – BOBI Submission – 22 March 2021 .

Note, the submission was made under an anonymous team brand: ‘I am Smarticus’ as per the BOBI Award competition rules.


Purdie Pascoe is market research agency focussing on the pharmaceutical, medical devices and medical diagnostic sectors. 

The Stats People is a statistical and methodological consultancy supporting clients in the survey research industry

[1] 314 Lower Tier Local Authorities: sourced from UK Covid-19 new cases/deaths, supplemented with English indices of deprivation (2019), ONS population estimates and ONS Annual population survey / Labour Force Survey
[2] Measured by ‘Crime score’
[3] Measured by ‘Education score’
[4] Deprivation Includes crime, education and income deprivation scores
[5] The British Healthcare Business Intelligence Association (BHBIA)
[6] The analysis was based on a 48-week period between w/c 23 March 2020 and w/e 21st February 2021

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