More than two-and-a-half times more people are in hospital with Covid and three times as many on ventilators in the North East of England and Yorkshire compared to parts of the South, exclusive analysis by NationalWorld reveals.
Data from the UK Covid dashboard shows that the North East and Yorkshire NHS Region had a daily average of 12.5 people in hospital beds with Covid for every 100,000 residents from 25 September to 1 October - with a rate of 1.5 per 100,000 in mechanical ventilation beds.
The South East in comparison had a rate of 4.8 per 100,000 in hospital beds and 0.5 on ventilators - the latter being three times less than the North East and Yorkshire’s rate.
The North West also had a high number of people in hospital with Covid compared to the South East, with a rate of 11.6 per 100,000 in hospital and 1.3 per 100,000 people in mechanical ventilation beds over the same period of time.
England had an average of 8.8 per 100,000 people in hospital with Covid over the same time period, with an average rate of 1.2 on ventilators.
Why the regional disparity?
Addressing why the North East may have a higher number of people in hospital and in mechanical ventilation beds, the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank (IPPR) said research shows that certain areas impacted by austerity have been “disproportionately” affected by Covid, including the North East.
It follows analysis by NationalWorld last month showing how the North had been disproportionately hit by deaths since ‘Freedom Day’.
Chris Thomas, senior research fellow at IPPR, said: "Our research has found that the areas where Westminster austerity hit hardest, including the North East, were disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. The government now needs to do much more to protect our health and ensure there is health service capacity across the whole country.
"The pandemic’s disruption continues. Life expectancy and cancer outcomes are in reverse; and waiting lists are hitting record highs. It’s clear we need more ambition and investment in health, and that this should be focused in the places where need is highest and capacity lowest.”
Covid patients sicker in London
The figures also show that a far higher proportion of London’s hospital patients are in ventilator beds, which suggests patients in the capital are sicker than elsewhere.
Of the 976 people in hospital with Covid in London on an average day between 25 September to 1 October, 18.7% were in mechanical ventilation beds., compared to 13.7% for England as a whole.
The proportion of Covid patients in ventilator beds due to Covid is higher in London than anywhere else in the country.
How vaccination rates differ
Vaccination data also shows that the South East had the highest vaccination uptake as of 2 October, with 94.3% having received their first jab and 88.2 % receiving both doses.
London has the lowest uptake, with 82.3% having received the first jab and 74.8% having received both Covid vaccination doses.
The North East had the second lowest vaccination uptake, with 83.4% vaccinated with a first dose and 77.5% having received both jabs.
Martin Michaelis, Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Kent, said: “It is no surprise that more people are suffering from severe Covid-19 in areas where the vaccination rates are low.”
He noted that “although the Covid-19 vaccines are not perfect, they protect most individuals very efficiently from life-threatening Covid-19”.
Professor Michaelis also explained that similar patterns between Covid hospitalisations and vaccine uptake can be seen in the United States, where there “is basically an inverse correlation between vaccination rates in a region and the number of Covid-19 hospitalisations”.
“Without Covid-19 vaccinations, our healthcare system would have collapsed, given the continuing high levels of Covid-19 spread,” he added.
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