People in the UK’s South Asian community were more likely to test positive for COVID, seriously ill and die than any other minority in the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak.
During the first wave, between February and September 2020, an article in the Lancet medical journal found that all minorities were at higher risk than whites in a positive COVID test requiring hospital admission. Receiving intensive care of the sick and dying After accounting for any underlying health condition, but in the second wave from September to December 2020, ethnic minorities performed better except those in South Asia.
“Despite the visible improvement in the majority of ethnic minorities in the second wave compared to the first, But it is worrying to see the disparity increase in South Asia, ”said Dr Rohini Mathur of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“This highlights the urgent need to find effective safeguards suited to the needs of the UK’s multicultural population.”
The authors said the higher risk of a positive test was linked to larger numbers of people in South Asian households, a finding supported by previous work from the National Statistical Office. The 2011 census found that 21% of South Asians lived in multi-generational households, compared with 7% of whites.
But other factors may also play a role, such as body weight, blood pressure, and the underlying health conditions.
Mathur said ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by socioeconomic discrimination, such as living in deprived areas, front line work and inferior access to healthcare. But that’s not the whole story.
“Our studies suggest that, despite these factors, the risk of positive test, hospitalization, ICU admission and mortality is still higher among ethnic minorities when Compared to white people in England, ”she said.
“To improve Covid-19 outcomes, we need to address the broader disadvantages and structural racism facing these communities, as well as improve access to care and reduce transmission.”
She said there are benefits to multi-age lifestyles, “said households and expanded communities, also offering a valuable informal care network and facilitating engagement with health and community services.”
But those communities need to be encouraged to get vaccinated. “As evidenced by the evidence that minority ethnic groups are less likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, jointly designing competent participation strategies can be found to be ineffective. So culture and not stigmatize these communities is becoming more important, ”she said.