Alzheimer’s Research UK calls on Government to do more to protect people with dementia
23 June 2020
Statistics show over a quarter of COVID-19 deaths linked to the condition
Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling for the government to review how they can protect people with dementia while restrictions are eased, as statistics reveal that people with dementia accounted for a quarter of all COVID-19 deaths in England and Wales over a three-month period.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), dementia and Alzheimer’s disease account for more than a quarter of all deaths in England and Wales between 1 March and 31 May 2020, registered up to 6 June 2020, where COVID-19 was involved.
This made dementia and Alzheimer disease the most common main pre-existing condition found among deaths involving COVID-19 and was involved in 11,950 deaths – a quarter (25.6%) of all deaths.
Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, says extensive research needs to be done to understand why so many people with dementia are dying with COVID-19.
The charity is calling on the government to invest in dementia research as a priority to give the research community capacity to get answers.
Samantha Benham-Hermetz, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“As the UK Government announce easing of COVID-19 enforced restrictions, these figures are a stark reminder that this virus is deadly and people with dementia are at highest risk. For the hundreds of thousands of people in the UK living with dementia this is a frightening reality and it is clear more research is needed to find out why those with dementia are at such high risk.
“Not only are people with dementia dying from COVID-19 but statistics show people with dementia without COVID-19 are dying in greater numbers than during normal times. We need research to look at why this is the case, and ultimately put in place new measures to prevent further deaths.
“Government must use this opportunity to act now and invest in dementia research. Only through increased funding and research capacity will we understand more about COVID-19, its effect on people with dementia and help save the lives of loved ones. Dementia is a problem that isn’t just going to go away unless we take urgent action.”
Today (23 June) the ONS has also revealed that some 10,977 deaths mentioned “symptoms, signs and ill-defined conditions”, which the ONS said is mostly deaths with a classification code for “old age”.