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Inequalities persist in Europe—and COVID-19 does not help
  1. Elizabeth Breeze
  1. Faculty of Epidemiology and Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elizabeth Breeze, Faculty of Epidemiology and Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK; elizabeth.breeze{at}

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Recent evidence of continuing inequalities by educational level in disability in Europe is disappointing. Further socioeconomic measures might reveal greater inequalities. Conclusions are limited by differences in wording used to establish disability. Assuming that there is inequity behind these inequalities, this, along with the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, reinforces the need for multisectoral action, collaboration and cooperation.

Rubio Valverde et al 1 show us that inequalities in disabilities in Europe have not improved between 2002 and 2017. They included a wide age range (30–79 years) and 26 countries. They used two surveys, the European Union Statistics on Income and Living (EU-SILC) and the European Social Survey. The disability measure was the Global Activity Limitation Indicator (GALI), a self-report of being limited in activities ‘people usually do’ in the past 6 months.2 The former survey indicated an increase in gap between low and high education groups, with the more educated experiencing reduced prevalence of disability, and the latter survey no discernible trend. Inequalities have been the subject of discussion for decades so it is disappointing to find this. …

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  • Contributors EB drafted the article and is accountable for all aspects of the writing.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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