British Jewish deaths more than double same period last year, amid pandemic
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British Jewish deaths more than double same period last year, amid pandemic

Board of Deputies of British Jews says 811 buried from March to May, compared to 358 in 2019; figures show Jews suffered 2.5 times the COVID-19 death rate of non-Jews

Illustrative: Volunteers from the Hatzola ambulance service, wearing gloves and masks to protect against the coronavirus, wheel a patient into Royal London Hospital in London on March 29, 2020. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP)
Illustrative: Volunteers from the Hatzola ambulance service, wearing gloves and masks to protect against the coronavirus, wheel a patient into Royal London Hospital in London on March 29, 2020. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP)

Jewish burials in the United Kingdom from March to May this year as the pandemic peaked were more than double the number during the same three-month period last year, according to figures published Wednesday by The Guardian.

The major Jewish burial services performed 811 funerals from March to May in 2020, compared to 358 from March to May in 2019, data collated by the Board of Deputies of British Jews showed. This marks an increase of 127 percent.

The figures also showed that the Jewish community’s death rate was 2.5 times higher than among non-Jews.

A report released last week from Britain’s statistic agency found that Jews, Muslims and members of other minority religious groups in England and Wales had higher mortality rates from COVID-19 than Christians and those who don’t identify with a religion.

The Office for National Statistics said that when accounting for factors such as population density, socioeconomic conditions and ethnicity, Jewish males had twice as high a risk of dying from coronavirus as Christian men.

Among females, Jews had 1.2 times a greater risk from dying of COVID-19 than Christians.

Overall, the coronavirus mortality rate was highest among Muslims, followed by Hindus, Jews and Sikhs, while those who say they have no religion had the lowest death rate among religious groups from COVID-19.

The report, which was based on statistics from March 2 to May 15, used 2011 census data on religious affiliation.

In the period covered in the report, 453 Jews in England and Wales died of COVID-19, accounting for 1.2 % of total coronavirus deaths during that time, though they make up 0.5% of the population.

With 42,546 deaths as of Friday, the United Kingdom has the third-highest COVID-19 mortality rate of any country, according to John Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. It also has the fifth highest number of infections, with 303,281.

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