LONDON: A paper due to be published in the medical journal Lancet has found that South Asian people are the most likely to die from Covid-19 after being admitted to hospital in Britain.
The report concluded that ethnicity must be taken into account in Britain when prioritising who gets a vaccine if one becomes available. “South Asians are over-represented in frontline key worker and public-interacting occupations, and guidance and policies should take this factor into account,” the report said.
The study, titled “Ethnicity and Outcomes from Covid-19”, the largest of its type in the world, shows South Asians who are hospitalised with the deadly virus are 20% more likely to die than whites, and 18% of the South Asians who have died had pre-existing diabetes.
The study of 34,986 hospitalised patients with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 in 260 hospitals between February and May found that South Asians, blacks and other ethnic minority patients hospitalised with Covid-19 were more likely to be admitted to critical care and more likely to need ventilation than their white counterparts, despite similar disease severity when admitted. Around 40% of the black and South Asian patients hospitalised had diabetes.
It found that once hospitalised, South Asians, despite being younger and with fewer co-morbidities, had the highest risk of death and were the only ethnicity with a raised risk of death.
A separate study by the Office for National Statistics, released Friday, said Indian ethnic men in Britain have a rate of death from Covid-19 that is 1.8 times higher than males of white ethnicity and Indian ethnic females have a rate of death 1.5 times higher than that of white ethnic women. The study, based on death registrations relating to Covid-19 between March and May, contradicted the Lancet paper and found that black males have the highest risk of death involving Covid-19. It said the rate of death of black men is 2.9 times greater than those of white men and the rate of death of black women involving Covid-19 is 2.3 times higher than white women. This includes deaths outside hospital.
It also found that males and females from the Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Sikh religious groups are at greater risk of death involving Covid-19 compared with those identifying as Christian or no religion. Muslim men had the highest rates of death involving Covid-19 at 2.5 times higher than those with no religion, followed by Jewish men (2.3 times higher) and Hindu men (1.9 times higher). Muslim women are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as those with no religion and Hindu females are 1.9 times as likely.
Leicester East, which has a population that is one-third Indian ethnicity, has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks, just as the UK is starting to ease its lockdown.