Bangladeshis twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white people

Public Health England has found that people of Bangladeshi ethnicity have twice the risk of dying from coronavirus than people of white British ethnicity.  

In a report released today looking at why people from ethnic minority backgrounds are “disproportionately” dying with coronavirus, Public Health England said that age and being male remain the biggest risk factors.

But the risk is also higher if you are Asian, Caribbean or black although it remains unclear why.

For ethnicity, the report said coronavirus death rates were highest among people of black and Asian ethnic groups when compared to white British.

People of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean and other black ethnicity had between a 10% and 50% higher risk of death when compared to white British.

The highest diagnosis rate per 100,000 population was in black ethnic groups (486 in females and 649 in males) and the lowest in white ethnic groups (220 in females and 224 in males).

The relationship between ethnicity and health is “complex and likely to be the result of a combination of factors,” said the report.

It said BAME groups were likely to be at increased risk of infection because they are more likely to live in urban areas, in crowded households, in deprived areas, and in jobs that expose them to higher risk.

It said they were also more likely to have been born abroad and therefore could experience cultural or language barriers in accessing services.

The data also found that:

  • People aged 80 or older are 70 times more likely to die than those under 40.
  • Working-age men diagnosed with COVID-19 are twice as likely to die as women.
  • The risk of dying with coronavirus is higher among those living in more deprived parts of the UK.
  • The report says certain occupations – security guards, taxi or bus drivers and construction workers and social care staff – are at higher risk.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons the report was timely work.

“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.

“It is very clear that some people are significantly more vulnerable to COVID-19 and this is something I’m determined to understand in full and take action to address.”

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