LONDON (Reuters) – Black people and those of Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnicity have a significantly higher chance of dying from COVID-19 than white people, even when adjusting for deprivation, the British statistics office said on Thursday.
Using models that adjusted for a range of socio-economic factors, the statistics office said it was clear that there were significant differences in the risk of COVID-19 among different ethnic groups.
“The risk of death involving the coronavirus (COVID-19) among some ethnic groups is significantly higher than that of those of white ethnicity,” the Office for National Statistics said.
“People of Bangladeshi and Pakistani, Indian, and Mixed ethnicities also had statistically significant raised risk of death involving COVID-19 compared with those of white ethnicity.”
Scientists studying the novel coronavirus caution that there were vast holes in their knowledge and cite striking differences in the death rates based on age, sex and ethnicity.
Genetics, they say, might hold many clues that could help eventually reveal a path to medicines or a vaccine that could treat the disease.
Without adjusting for a variety of factors including deprivation, education and health, the ONS found that black males were 4.2 times more likely to die from a COVID-19-related death and black females were 4.3 times more likely than white ethnicity males and females.
The adjusted model showed that black males and females were 1.9 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the white ethnic group.
Males of Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnicity are 1.8 times more likely to die, according to the adjusted model. Individuals from the Chinese and mixed ethnic group have similar risks to those with white ethnicity, the ONS said.
Data from the United States showed African Americans were more likely to die from COVID-19, highlighting longstanding disparities in health and inequalities in access to medical care.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Editing by Kylie MacLellan and Michael Holden