South Asians in UK at greater risk from Covid

People from a South Asian background were at even greater risk of infection, hospitalisation and death in the second wave of Covid than the first, compared with other ethnic groups, a study says.

South Asians in UK at greater risk from Covid

 A study published in the Lancet looked at health data from 17 million adults.

It confirmed that nearly all ethnic minority groups were disproportionally affected in the first wave in England.

In the second wave, the differences for black and mixed ethnic groups narrowed compared with white groups.

But those from an Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi background were even more likely to test positive, need hospital treatment and lose their lives.

"It's concerning to see that the disparity widened among South Asian groups," said Dr Rohini Mathur, assistant professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and lead author of the research.

"This highlights an urgent need to find effective prevention measures that fit with the needs of the UK's ethnically diverse population."

The study, thought to be the largest of its type, was funded by the Medical Research Council and conducted by scientists from a group of universities including LSHTM and the University of Oxford along with the National Institute of Health Research.

The team analysed medical data collected by GPs covering 40% of England and compared it with coronavirus-related data for the first and second waves of the pandemic - including testing, hospital and mortality records.

South Asian Covid death rates 'alarming'

Black people 'twice as likely to catch Covid'

Ethnic minorities 'over-exposed' to coronavirus

In the first wave of the pandemic, from February to September 2020, nearly every ethnic minority group in the UK had a higher relative risk for testing positive, hospitalisation and death.

 

The largest disparity was in intensive care admissions, which more than doubled for most ethnic minority groups compared with white groups, with black people more than three times more likely to be admitted to ICU after age and sex were taken into account.

For black and mixed groups the differences narrowed between the first and second wave from September to December for reasons that are still not fully understood. It's thought access to better testing, targeted publicity campaigns and new ways of reducing risk at work may have all played a part.

Rameshwor Sharma
Rameshwor Sharma
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