Official UK Report on Impact of Coronavirus on Ethnic Minorities Published

Cheryl Sanders
June 3, 2020

In the study, PHE accounted for age, deprivation, region and sex, but did not adjust for underlying illnesses.

Those who are of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani or other Asian ethnicity, and those of Caribbean or African origin, had between 10 and 50 per cent higher risk of death than those in the white British group, the agency said.

The highest age standardised diagnosis rates of COVID-19 per 100,000 population were in people of Black ethnic groups (486 in females and 649 in males), and the lowest were in people of White ethnic groups (220 in females and 224 in males).

Matt Hancock said today: "People are understandably angry about injustices and as Health Secretary I feel a deep responsibility because this pandemic has exposed huge disparities in the health of our nation".


People from black backgrounds are most likely to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, while people from Bangladeshi backgrounds were found to be most likely to die from COVID-19 - twice as likely white people. Among females, deaths were nearly three times higher in this period in black, mixed and "other" groups, and around two and a half times higher in Asian females compared with 1.6 times in white females. People from ethnic minority communities are at increased risk of acquiring the infection as they are more likely to live in overcrowded households and have jobs that expose them to higher risk.

Comorbidities, or underlying health conditions such as diabetes, hypertensive diseases, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and dementia, are also a likely factor.

It also found that working age men were twice as likely to die as working age women, and that people living in deprived areas were more likely to die than those in affluent areas.

An analysis of 119 deaths of National Health Service (NHS) staff showed a disproportionately high number of BAME staff among those who had died.


- People working in hospitals are not more likely to catch or die from Covid-19.

The main opposition Labour Party said the government must act now to protect ethnic-minority groups. It said the review, which drew on official statistics and other data, largely confirmed what was already known about racial and health inequalities.

Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Marsha de Cordova expressed frustration that the report contained no recommendations and said that "when it comes to the question of how we reduce these disparities, it is notably silent". It presents no recommendations.


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