Matt Hancock confirms ethnicity is ‘major risk factor’ for Covid-19

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

A Public Health England report has confirmed that people from a minority ethnic background are at great risk of contracting and dying from coronavirus, the Health Secretary has said.

It found that compared to people of white British ethnicity, Bangladeshi people had around twice the risk of death while people of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean and black ethnicity faced between 10 per cent and 50 per cent higher risk.

Matt Hancock said today: “People are understandably angry about injustices and as Health Secretary I feel a deep responsibility because this pandemic has exposed huge disparities in the health of our nation.

“This work underlines that being black or from a minority ethnic background is a major risk factor.”

He said the racial disparity held despite accounting for the effects of age, deprivation, region and sex but that the analysis had not accounted for existing health conditions and obesity.

“There is much more work to do to understand the key drivers of these disparities, the relationships between the different risk factors and what we can do to close the gap,” he added.

The study also showed:

- Age is the biggest risk factor. Those aged 80 or over are 70 times more likely to die than those under 40.

- Working age men are twice as likely to die as working age women.

- Those whose jobs deal with the public in enclosed spaces are also at a higher risk.

- People working in hospitals are not more likely to catch or die from Covid-19.

- Diagnosis rates are higher in deprived or densely populated urban areas.


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