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Ethnic minority patients no longer at greater risk of Covid

Ethnic minority patients no longer at greater risk of Covid
By Jess Hacker
28 February 2023

People from ethnic minority backgrounds are no longer more statistically likely to die from Covid-19, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

In the earliest stages of the pandemic, mortality rates were significantly higher for people from ethnic minority backgrounds compared to those from white British backgrounds.

But that difference has been in decline since January 2022, when Omicron became the dominant strain.

And new analysis from the ONS has indicated there is ‘no longer evidence’ of ethnic minority groups having a greater mortality rate than people in the white British group.

Rather, men with Black African, Black Caribbean, Chinese and other ethnic background had lower mortality rates involving Covid-19 than the white British group.

This was also the case for women in the Black African group.

Similarly, for religion, Muslim groups saw notable decreases in the most recent period, after previously experiences the highest rates of Covid-19 deaths.

The ONS also said that the patterns in all-cause mortality by ethnic group, since June 2021, now suggest a return to pre-pandemic all-cause mortality rates.

For all ethnic groups and for most religious groups, rates of death were highest prior to June 2021, when Delta became the prominent variant.

And by that time, more than 90% of people over 50 and 65% of people over 18 had received two vaccines.

However, vaccination coverage varied by ethnicity and religious background, with typically much lower coverage than people from white British backgrounds.

Vahé Nafilyan, senior statistician for the data and analysis for social care and health division at the ONS, said: ‘Analysis for the latest period shows that for all ethnic groups, rates of deaths involving Covid-19 are substantially lower compared to earlier in the pandemic.

‘Furthermore, patterns in mortality rates between ethnic groups have changed; for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, ethnic minority groups no longer have a significantly higher Covid-19 mortality rate compared to the white British group.

‘This is reflected in patterns of all-cause mortality, which in the latest period suggest a return to patterns observed prior to the pandemic (rates then were highest for the white and mixed groups).

‘This is notable because during the pandemic there were periods where all-cause mortality rates were higher for Bangladeshi and Pakistani males and females, Black Caribbean males and females in the mixed ethnic group compared with the white British group.’

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