East Belfast postcode records highest number of Covid deaths in Northern Ireland
POSTCODES in the poorest and the most heavily populated areas of Northern Ireland recorded the biggest number of coronavirus deaths, according to a government statistics agency.
The BT4 area of east Belfast, which takes in Upper Newtownards Road, Holywood Road and Sydenham, had the highest number of Covid-19 related fatalities, with 36 confirmed.
Data released by the Northern Ireland Research and Statistics Agency (NISRA) in response to a Freedom of Information request gave a breakdown by postcode of 754 deaths where the virus was mentioned on death certificates up until May 29.
The second highest recorded was among those living in the BT13 area with 30 deaths, which includes the Shankill Road, Woodvale, Ballygomartin and Glencairn areas.
Just one Covid-related death was registered in BT94, which covers Irvinestown, Ballinamallard, Brookeborough, Tempo, Maguiresbridge, Lisbellaw and Fermanagh.
The total number of coronavirus related deaths recorded by Nisra up until July 3 now stands at 839. This relates to fatalities in hospitals and the community, with half the toll occurring among care home residents.
An academic suggested poverty and population density played a role, with underlying conditions linked to deaths in more deprived communities.
Dr John Moriarty, from Queen's University's Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation told the BBC: "The geographical distribution of Covid-19 deaths in Northern Ireland is further evidence that the burden of this infection is falling disproportionately on those most deprived.
"Figures released previously suggested that the virus itself may have been widespread in both the most deprived and most affluent areas.
"This may have been linked to more international travel undertaken earlier in the year for both business and pleasure by those in wealthier areas.
"Alternatively, it may have been because of greater awareness of the need to be tested.
"However, what is clear is that infection in well-off areas isn't causing as many people to go to hospital or to die.
"But the most obvious explanation for the higher deaths from Covid-19 in deprived areas is the level of underlying ill-health which existed in those areas prior to the pandemic."