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Covid-19: Black men twice as likely to die as white

07/05/20 . News

Black people are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 as white people. Even after factors like social deprivation are taken into account.

That’s the simple conclusion of some impressive number-crunching by the ONS.

When comparisons are made on the basis of age alone, black men are 4.2 times more likely to die than their white counterparts (black women are 4.3 times more likely to die than white women). However, socio-economic factors play a major part in health as do, of course, pre-existing conditions and disability. In the UK, as the ONS puts it, the 'existing evidence indicates that most ethnic minority groups tend to be more disadvantaged than their White counterparts'.

Once these factors were taken into consideration, men and women of Black ethnicity were 1.9 times more likely to die of Covid-19 than those of White ethnicity. Men in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic group were 1.8 times more likely to die (for women from those groups, the figure was 1.6 times more likely). The changes were less marked for men of Indian or Chinese ethnicity although both groups do have an elevated risk compared to their White counterparts.

The findings can be seen in the ONS chart below. The ONS conclude: 'These results show that the difference between ethnic groups in COVID-19 mortality is partly a result of socio-economic disadvantage and other circumstances, but a remaining part of the difference has not yet been explained.'

The analysis comes ahead of a review into how different factors – including ethnicity, gender and obesity – can impact on Covid-19 outcomes. Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health Director for London will lead the review which will report by the end of the month.

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