A study of 18 million people in the UK and US has found that people from a black or Asian background are at greater risk than white people of catching Covid-19.
Researchers from the Universities of Nottingham and Leicester examined data from 50 studies to understand more.
- Individuals from black backgrounds were twice as likely as those from white backgrounds to be infected for Covid-19.
- People from Asian backgrounds were 1.5 times more likely than white people to become infected with the virus.
- Asians are more likely to have severe infections and need intensive care.
- Asian people may be at higher risk of death than other groups.
Dr Manish Pareek says there are many reasons why minority groups are at heightened risk, such as them being more likely to be employed in front line roles and live in large households with multiple generations.
Pareek also added that he had not found any evidence that the risks were being driven by genetic factors.
He further urged that these findings be employed in delivering vaccines, for example prioritising elderly from such backgrounds.
Colleague Dr Shirley Sze said: “The clear evidence of increased risk of infection among ethnic minority groups is of urgent public health importance – we must work to minimise exposure to the virus in these at-risk groups by facilitating their timely access to healthcare resources and target the social and structural disparities that contribute to health inequalities.”
The research team believe “racism and structural discrimination may also contribute to an increased risk of worse clinical outcomes within ethnic minority communities”.