One in five people who died from COVID-19 during 2020 and 2021 had dementia, new figures confirm

04 July 2022

Alzheimer’s Research UK says Government must take greater action to speed up the development and deployment of new dementia treatments after it’s been revealed that just over one in five (21.8%) individuals who died of COVID-19 across 2020 and 2021 were living with dementia.

According to new data published today (Friday 1st July 2022) by the Office for National Statistics, among deaths due to COVID-19 in England and Wales in 2021, dementia was one of the most common pre-existing conditions. Combined with data from 2020, this indicates that of the 137,321 patients who died from the virus during this period, some 30,043 (21.8%) had dementia.

The UK’s leading dementia research charity said the figures underlined the urgent need for more funding into dementia research and calls on the Government to convene a Dementia Medicines Taskforce, as part of the forthcoming Dementia Strategy, to end the long wait for dementia treatments.

David Thomas, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

We’ve known for some time that people with dementia have been hit disproportionately hard during the pandemic, but this new data serves as a stark reminder of the growing challenge we face in tackling the condition, and the urgent need to address it. People with dementia are more likely to be living with a range of conditions that put them at greater risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms, and we must find new and better ways to treat and reduce the risk of developing dementia if we’re to protect people in future. That’s why it’s critical that dementia research is made a priority.

“We’re calling for the government to set up a Dementia Medicines Taskforce to apply the same approach that delivered life-saving COVID-19 vaccines to bring about the first life-changing treatments for people who desperately need them.”