One in five people dying from COVID-19 have dementia, figures reveal 

15 May 2020


Alzheimer’s Research UK says action is needed to protect people with dementia from COVID-19 – after it’s been revealed that nearly one in five (18%) of all people who have died from the virus also had dementia.

NHS England has published a breakdown of deaths by pre-existing conditions. Of the 22,332 patients who died since March 31, when pre-existing conditions began to be reported, some 5,873 (26%) of patients had diabetes, while 4,048 (18%) had dementia.

Samantha Benham-Hermetz, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“This shocking news will no doubt bring even more worry and fear to people affected by dementia and their loved ones, during an already challenging time.

“While it’s still unclear what’s behind the link between COVID-19 and dementia, we do know that people with dementia are more vulnerable to certain infections. Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia, and with older people also more likely to experience severe symptoms from COVID-19, this may partly explain the high number of deaths. It is also possible that people with dementia may be more likely to have been exposed to the virus due to high rates of infection in care homes.

“As a matter of priority, government must protect people with dementia and more research is needed to understand why people with dementia are so badly affected by COVID-19, so that the right measures can be put in place to prevent further deaths.”