The higher coronavirus death rate for ethnic minority groups in England and Wales could be due to socio-economic factors, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS.)
The divide is most stark for men from Black African backgrounds, who die at a rate 3.8 times higher than White counterparts, while the rate for women of Black African ethnicity is 2.9 times higher.
These rates drop slightly when researchers accounted for geography, socio-economic characteristics and health measures, including pre-existing conditions. But the rate for Black African men remained 2.5 times higher than White peers, while the rate for women was 2.1 times higher.
“All ethnic groups other than Chinese females were at higher risk of Covid-19 mortality than the White ethnic population,” the ONS found. The divide was “most strongly associated with demographic and socio-economic factors” and could not be explained by “pre-existing health conditions.”
The trend has been covered in multiple reports and inquiries and the UK government remains under pressure to address the issue.
Today’s report confirms that when adjusting for age, rates of death involving Covid-19 remain greater for most ethnic minority groups, and most notably so for people of Black African, Black Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic background,” Ben Humberstone, Deputy Director of the the ONS Health and Life Events Division, said in a statement Friday.
He added that the difference in risk of death was partially explained by “demographic, geographical and socioeconomic factors, such as where you live or the occupation you’re in.”
“It also found that although specific pre-existing conditions place people at greater risk of Covid-19 mortality generally, it does not explain the remaining ethnic background differences in mortality.”