South Asians People In UK at huge Risk In Second Covid Wave: Study says.
Ethnic minority groups in general and those in South Asia, in particular, were at increased risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19-related hospitalizations, intensive care (ICU) admissions, and deaths during the second wave of the pandemic in the UK compared to the first, according to a new observational study of 17 million people.
Led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the study published in the Lancet medical journal on Friday accounted for a host of explanatory variables such as household size, social factors, and health conditions across ethnic groups and at different stages. of COVID-19, from testing to mortality.
“The South Asian groups remained at higher risk of testing positive, with relative risks of hospitalization, ICU admission, and death of greater magnitude in the second wave compared to the first wave,” the study finds.
It found that compared to last year’s first wave, the relative risk of testing positive, hospitalization, ICU admission, and death were lower in the second pandemic wave earlier this year for all ethnic communities. minority compared to white people, with the exception of South Asian groups, which comprise Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis.
“Despite the improvements seen in most ethnic minority groups in the second wave compared to the first, it is worrying to see the disparity widening between the South Asian groups,” said LSHTM’s Dr. Rohini Mathur and lead author of the study.
“This highlights an urgent need to find effective prevention measures that are tailored to the needs of the UK’s ethnically diverse population,” he said.
After taking into account age and sex, social deprivation was the largest potential explanatory factor for disparities in all ethnic minority groups except South Asia.
In the South Asian groups, health factors such as BMI, blood pressure, and underlying health conditions played the largest role in explaining excess risks for all outcomes. Household size was a major explanatory factor for the COVID-19 mortality disparity in the South Asian groups only.
Dr. Mathur said: “While multigenerational living may increase the risk of exposure and transmission (from children or working-age adults to older or vulnerable family members), these extended homes and communities also offer valuable informal care networks. and facilitate engagement with health and community services.
“In light of emerging evidence that ethnic minority groups are less likely to adopt the COVID-19 vaccine, jointly designing culturally competent and non-stigmatizing engagement strategies with these communities is increasingly important.”
On behalf of NHS England, the research team used the new secure data analytics platform OpenSAFELY to analyze partially anonymized electronic health data collected by general practitioners (GPs) covering 40 percent of England.
These GP records were linked to other national coronavirus-related data sets for the first and second waves of the pandemic, including testing, hospital data, and mortality records. Participants self-reported ethnicity in GP records and were grouped into five census categories (white, South Asian, black, other, mixed) and then into 16 more subgroups.
“Ethnic minority groups in the UK are disproportionately affected by factors that also increase the risk of negative COVID-19 outcomes, such as living in deprived areas, working in frontline jobs, and having poorer access to health. medical care, “says Dr. Mathur.
“Our study indicates that even after accounting for many of these factors, the risk of a positive test, hospitalization, ICU admission, and death is even higher in ethnic minority groups compared to whites in England”.
“To improve COVID-19 outcomes, we urgently need to address the broader disadvantage and structural racism these communities face, as well as improve access to care and reduce transmission,” he said.
The authors caution that there are some limitations to the study, including the inability to capture all possible explanatory variables, including occupation, health-related behaviors, and experiences of racism or structural discrimination.
They call for improving the integrity of ethnicity registration in health data to further support the conduct of high-quality research to address health inequalities for COVID-19 and beyond.
The study, believed to be the largest of its kind, was funded by the UK Medical Research Council and conducted by scientists from a group of universities including LSHTM and the University of Oxford, along with the National Institute of Medicine. Health Research.
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