BAME groups at higher risk of dying from COVID-19

People from ethnic minorities are at a higher risk of dying from coronavirus, according to a report by Public Health England.

The report, which was published yesterday, found that while age was by far the biggest risk factor, the those in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups were also at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19.

It found that even after taking into account sex, age, deprivation and where people live, those of a Bangladeshi ethnicity were at around twice the risk of dying from coronavirus as people of a White ethnicity.

The Public Health England report also concluded that people of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Asian and other Black ethnicities had between a 10% and 50% higher risk of death when compared to White British.

Speaking in Parliament, the health secretary, Matt Hancock said the report also showed that diagnosis rates are higher in deprived or densely populated urban areas, and we know that our great cities have been hardest hit by this virus.

‘This work underlines that being black or from a minority ethnic background is a major risk factor,’ said Mr Hancock.

‘That racial disparity holds even after accounting for the effects of age, deprivation, region and sex. The PHE ethnicity analysis did not adjust for factors such as comorbidities and obesity, so there is much more work to do to understand the key drivers of these disparities, the relationships between the different risk factors and what we can do to close the gap.’

The report also found that people working in social care, taxi drivers and security guards were also at a higher risk of dying from coronavirus.

The acting director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Helen Barnard, said the report’s findings were ‘shocking, but not surprising’.

‘BAME communities and areas of high deprivation are at much greater risk from coronavirus. This just isn’t right: someone’s life chances should not be so profoundly affected by the colour of their skin, where they live or how much money their family has,’ said Ms Barnard.

‘People from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and those who live in more deprived areas are more likely to work in public-facing roles, increasing their risk of catching Covid-19. They are also more likely to live in overcrowded homes, which increases the risk for their families too.

‘Public Health England has warned that failure to address these inequalities could seriously impede efforts to control the spread of the virus. The government must focus its immediate prevention efforts on those most at risk and make a long-term commitment to tackling structural problems which have led to these tragic deaths.’

Photo Credit – Geralt (Pixabay)

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