A leading public health agency said pre-existing social inequalities contributed to the UK’s record of the highest death rates from Covid in Europe, warning that the lives of many children would be permanently damaged if the problem was not addressed.

Sir Michael Marmot, Known for his historical work on the social determinants of health, he argued in A. New report Families at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder were losing out before the pandemic, suffering now more, and losing health, jobs, lives and educational opportunities.

In the report, Build Back Fairer, Marmot said that these social inequalities must be addressed whatever the cost, and that was not enough to return to how things were before the pandemic. “We cannot afford not to do that,” he said.

“It is simply unacceptable to say that it is good for children to go to bed hungry … We have some misconceptions about the necessity of austerity … What society do we want? We want to ensure the health and well-being of all organs and the fair distribution of health and well-being. We simply do not. We can afford not to do that. Government debt is not an excuse. We know this is an incorrect understanding of the economy. “

It painted a bleak picture, confirmed by statistics that have shown that the most deprived families are the most affected. Men and women who live in crowded conditions in the country’s most deprived areas are the most likely to die from COVID-19. Caregivers and those who work in the entertainment and service industries have the highest death rates under the age of 64. People from black, Asian and ethnic minorities who work as taxi drivers, bus drivers, security guards, caregivers, and other low-paying occupations have a higher risk of dying.

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UK deaths

It found that children and youth living in deprived areas are suffering disproportionately from the lockdown. “One of the effects of the epidemic has been an increase in the educational gap,” Marmot said. In the least deprived schools, few children are late as a result of the closure. In the most deprived groups, babies were reported to be as late as four to six months.

He said there had been “significant increases in food insecurity,” and high rates of unhappiness or depression, particularly among young people. Young people were also more at risk of job losses in this pandemic.

Marmot was very critical of the government, which had failed to act He reported in February Showing austerity policies has already hurt health and cut life expectancy in England.

“Before the epidemic, the increase in life expectancy stopped, the inequalities increased, and the life expectancy of the poorest people decreased,” he said. “This was a measure that society was not doing well. Hence the high mortality rate during a pandemic is simply a measure of how poorly society is doing.”

He pointed out that the recommendations contained in his report dealt with the causes related to governance, political culture and the widening gap between those with influence, money, resources and those without.

“We have to reverse the decline in spending on public services – as I said, we were not prepared for that. We were unhealthy to enter the epidemic. Which means we have to place equitable distribution of health and well-being at the center of all government policy.”

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Public health funding has been cut back during the austerity years. “Budget for the public the health After its founding in 2012 England was reduced by 40% and public health spending in local government was cut by about £ 800 million.

“Back in February / March, when we should have put in place a national system of testing, tracking and isolation, public health should have organized it,” he said.

But it didn’t happen this way. First of all, the policy was to not do it at all, he said, then it was handing it over to a private company “and it doesn’t matter if the person managing it doesn’t have any experience, because we know private solutions are always better than public solutions, so we’ll give it to the sector. Your to manage it.

“Fatal error. We had to use the public health and the local public health – fund it properly, get it to do it. “

There is no doubt that the pandemic will affect the coming years, said Jennifer Dickson, chief executive of the Health Foundation. “Mitigating the damage from the epidemic to education, employment and income must be at the core of the government’s plans for recovery and settlement.

For young people, this means practical help in finding work and training to access better quality jobs. While rebuilding, these measures are necessary to ensure that the younger generation who lived through the pandemic does not continue to feel the impact on their health for the rest of their lives.

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“It is absolutely unacceptable for the existence of such a strong division in a country through these means between the richest and the poorest in society. This report should serve as an important call for action in order for the government to invest in the health of this nation in the long run, since in these difficult times there is no Sure, closing the gap has never been more important, ”said the BMA Board of Directors. Professor Dam Parveen Kumar.