UK Analysis Shows People with Bangladeshi Backgrounds at Higher Mortality Risk

COVID-19 REVIEW The report on the impact of coronavirus on BAME groups has been met with a considerable amount of criticism

This contrasts with previous years where mortality rates were "lower in Asian and Black ethnic groups than White ethnic groups", PHE said.

But it noted its ethnicity analysis did not account for comorbidities, obesity or occupation - which are associated with both the risk of infection and of dying.

For example, some co-morbidities which increase the risk of poorer outcomes from Covid-19 are more common among certain ethnic groups.

An analysis of survival among confirmed Covid-19 cases and using more detailed ethnic groups, shows that after accounting for the effect of sex, age, deprivation and region, people of Bangladeshi ethnicity had around twice the risk of death than people of White British ethnicity.

Announcing the launch of the review in early May, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said: "We recognise that there has been a disproportionately high number of people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds who have passed away, especially among care workers and those in the NHS".

The proportion ranged from 17% in the White ethnic groups to 40% in the Black group and was "also high" in the Asian and Mixed groups, PHE said.

The report concludes that the relationship between ethnicity and health is complex and likely to be the result of a combination of factors.

The same "disparities" were found for hypertensive disease, which was present on the death certificate of 20% of those who died with coronavirus.

- Those whose jobs deal with the public in enclosed spaces are also at a higher risk.

Sex was another disparity in risk analysed, with the review showing that working age men diagnosed with Covid-19 were twice as likely as women to die.

The British Medical Association (BMA) called for more information to make sense of why the terrible virus is impacting the BAME community adversely and what needs to be done to urgently protect them.

The terms of reference for the review, published in May, state that one of the objectives of the process was to "suggest recommendations for further action that should be taken to reduce disparities in risk and outcomes from Covid-19".

PHE has said that the results of its descriptive review improves the understanding of the pandemic and will help in formulating the future public health response to it.

Ministers have been accused of not taking seriously the threat posed to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Britons by Covid-19, after it was reported that the release of an official review of the issue had been delayed over fears of potential civil unrest. "BAME communities need answers", said Marsha de Cordova, the shadow women and equalities secretary. Having the information is a start - but now is the time for action.

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