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COVID-19 deaths remain highest among Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups

29th Apr 2022
COVID-19 deaths remain highest among Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups

Deaths by ethnicity: ethnic contrasts in deaths involving COVID-19, England: Jan 10 to Feb 16, 2022. (Source: ONS)

 

Hamed Chapman

Patterns in rates of deaths involving COVID-19 have remained by far the most severe among ethnic Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities in the UK since Omicron became the new variant this year.

According to the latest update from the Office for National Statistics, rates of death involving COVID were still much higher for many ethnic minority groups compared with White British between January 10, 2022, and February 16, 2022.

Since the start of the period when Omicron became the main variant, males in the Bangladeshi ethnic group had the worst rate of death involving COVID. This was a startling 2.7 times higher than males in the White British ethnic group. This was followed by Pakistani males (2.2 times) and Black Caribbean males (1.6 times).

Females in the Pakistani ethnic group had the highest rate of death involving COVID, some 2.5 times higher than females in the White British ethnic group, followed by Bangladeshi females (1.9 times) and females in the mixed ethnic group (1.4 times).

The earliest findings from the ONS, as well as elsewhere, reported that since the start of the pandemic in 2020, those afflicted by the deadly virus were proportionally much more likely to be from BAME communities than among White people.

People of Bangladeshi ethnicity were around twice as likely to die of Coronavirus. Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean and other Black ethnicities were between 10 and 50 per cent more likely. Disparities in risk of infection and death worsened for Bangladeshis in the second wave of the COVID pandemic.

However, they improved for some other ethnic groups, the Government’s Race Disparity Unit reported in its second quarterly bulletin released in March 2021. Compared with first and early second wave data, death rates from COVID-19 dropped by over 60 per cent for both black African men and black African women, but rose by 124 per cent and 97 per cent for men and women from Pakistani backgrounds, respectively.

A damning study released in February this year that was commissioned by the NHS Race and Health Observatory showed that ethnic minorities in the UK suffered gross inequalities in health outcomes that were evident at every stage of life, saying there was convincing and persistent evidence that they were being failed. The report was littered with striking examples and evidence of inequity in the NHS. It concludes that inequalities in access to, experiences of, and outcomes of healthcare in the NHS “are rooted in experiences of structural, institutional and interpersonal racism”.

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