Covid-19: Ethnic data at last but still no gender

20/04/20 . News

It’s tough to write this story without sounding sarcastic but these are tough time for us all so we’ll try our best.

So there’s a muted cheer for NHS England for finally, better late than never, publishing the daily Covid-19 death data by ethnic group. It’s seriously overdue because, as we and many others have reported, there is evidence that the Coronavirus is hitting people from BAME communities hardest.

Today’s data from NHS England also included the figures broken down by NHS Trust and region and by age. So far so good.

There’s a bit of work involved in producing this daily data. There are nearly 200 NHS Trusts across England, 16 different ethnic groups and six different age groups. A fair bit of categorisation required. But there is still one data breakdown we haven’t got despite repeated requests from the Forum (we first asked a month ago) and that is into male or female. Two categories.

We know they know - how could they not? - because the data appears in the weekly ONS figures that we’ve been reporting.

With evidence that men are perhaps twice as likely to die of Covid-19 as women, it’s hard to justify the continual refusal to publish this information. And it’s hard to continue this story without breaking our promise not to lapse into sarcasm. So, come on NHS England, come on Public Health England, follow the lead of the ONS and the critical care statistics body ICNARC and give us the gender breakdown.

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Men appear more likely to get Covid-19 and far, far more likely to die from it. The Men's Health Forum are working hard pushing for more action on this from government, from health professionals and from all of us. Why are men more affected and what can we do about it? We need the data. We need the research. We need the action. Currently we're the only UK charity doing this - please help us.

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