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Analysis of COVID-19 related deaths: March – May 2020

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Latest figures published today by NISRA show that COVID-19 related deaths (764) accounted for 17.2% of all deaths in Northern Ireland from 1st March to 31st May 2020.

The figures include the age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) for deaths involving COVID-19 over the same period for the first time. The ASMRs are used to directly compare mortality rates for different groups, including males with females, or regions, using the age structure of a standard population. It shows the ASMR for Northern Ireland was 48.2 per 100,000 persons for the time period.

Males had a significantly higher rate of death linked to COVID-19: the ASMR for males was 60.4 deaths per 100,000 of the male population compared with 40.4 deaths per 100,000 females.

Belfast Local Government District (LGD) had the highest COVID-19 related ASMR with 81.1 deaths per 100,000, followed by Antrim and Newtownabbey LGD at 64.4 (per 100,000). Fermanagh and Omagh had the lowest COVID-19 related ASMR of 16.2 (per 100,000), followed by Derry and Strabane with an ASMR of 25.0 (per 100,000).

Adjusting for differing age structures within the population, COVID-19 related ASMRs were highest for the 20% most deprived areas at 60.5 deaths per 100,000 population. This compares with an ASMR of 48.2 per 100,000 persons for Northern Ireland as a whole.

The highest COVID-19 related ASMR was found in urban areas (59.0 deaths per 100,000 population). This was significantly higher than ASMRs in areas categorised as mixed urban/rural (37.7 deaths per 100,000 population) and rural (30.4 deaths per 100,000 population).

Proportions of COVID-19 related deaths in Northern Ireland by country of birth are in line with proportions from the Northern Ireland Census in 2011and show that 89.9% of COVID-19 related deaths were of people born in Northern Ireland.

Eighty six of the 764 (11.3%) COVID-19 related deaths were persons of working age (aged 20-69), of which 35 (40.7%) were in the skilled trades, elementary occupations or process, plant and machine operative occupational groups.

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