Leicester Mercury

Black people are twice as likely to be infected with Covid



PEOPLE of black ethnicity are twice as likely to be infected with Covid-19 compared to those of white ethnicity, according to researcher­s.

People from Asian background­s are also 1.5 times more likely to become infected with the virus compared to white individual­s, scientists from Leicester and Nottingham found after studying data from more than 18 million people.

Those of Asian ethnicitie­s were at higher risk of admission to an intensive therapy unit (ITU) and death.

However, this finding has not been examined by other researcher­s and the risk of death was only of borderline statistica­l significan­ce, the team said.

Dr Manish Pareek, associate clinical professor in infectious diseases and a consultant in infectious diseases at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: “Our findings suggest the disproport­ionate impact of Covid-19 on Black and Asian communitie­s is mainly attributab­le to increased risk of infection in these communitie­s.

“Many explanatio­ns exist as to why there may be an elevated level of Covid19 infection in ethnic minority groups, including the greater likelihood of living in larger household sizes comprised of multiple generation­s; having lower socioecono­mic status, which may increase the likelihood of living in overcrowde­d households; and being employed in frontline roles where working from home is not an option.”

Dr Shirley Sze, from the University of Leicester, said: “The clear evidence of increased risk of infection among ethnic minority groups is of urgent public health importance.

“We must work to minimise exposure to the virus in these at-risk groups.”

Dr Daniel Pan, from the NHS Trust and university, said: “Future papers must try to adjust for the risk of infection when looking at the risk of ITU admission and death in Covid-19 patients, in order for us to accurately assess the impact of ethnicity on an individual’s risk of death once they are infected”.

The team pooled data from 50 studies in the UK and USA.

The paper Ethnicity and clinical outcomes in Covid-19: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis was published in EClinical Medicine by The Lancet on Thursday.

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