South Asians most likely to die of Coronavirus in the UK: Study - South Asia Time

South Asians most likely to die of Coronavirus in the UK: Study

 June 19, 2020  

London – A major study has found out that South Asian people are the most likely to die from coronavirus after being admitted to hospital in Great Britain.

It is the only ethnic group to have a raised risk of death in hospital and is partly due to high levels of diabetes, BBC reported.

People from South Asian backgrounds were 20% more likely to die than white people. Other minority ethnic groups did not have a higher death rate.

Responding to a query by South Asia Time, Professor Ewen Harrison, study lead and Professor of Surgery and Data Science and Honorary Consultant Surgeon at University of Edinburgh, said: “These findings once again put ethnicity front and centre in determining the effects of Covid-19. It is tragic to see any group in society to be at increased risk compared to others. Diabetes is more common in South Asian people and this is likely to explain some of these findings, further research is needed to understand this association and the underlying reasons for this increased risk.

“There are important implications for policy – South Asian people are more likely to be in public facing jobs particularly in health and social care. Policy makers should account for ethnicity when developing future guidelines around Covid-19,” he added.

Around 40% of South Asian patients had either type 1 or type 2 diabetes compared with 25% of white groups.

Dual effect of diabetes

Diabetes has a dual effect of increasing the risk of infection and damaging the body’s organs, which may affect the ability to survive a coronavirus infection, the BBC news report said.

The study looked at nearly 35,000 Covid-19 patients in 260 hospitals across England, Scotland and Wales up until the middle of May.

The study, the largest of its type in the world, showed that:

  • 290 die out of every 1,000 white people needing hospital treatment for Covid-19
  • 350 die out of every 1,000 South Asian people needing hospital treatment for Covid-19

Earlier, the Office of National Statistics of the UK concluded that due to Coronavirus:

  • Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are 1.8 times as likely to die
  • Indians are around 1.5 times as likely
  • Black people are 1.9 times as likely to die as white people

Analysis from Public Health England (PHE) showed that once in hospital, people from BAME backgrounds were also more likely to require admission to an intensive care unit.

BAME people accounted for 11% of those hospitalised with Covid-19 but over 36% of those admitted to critical care, studies said.