South Asian people are the most likely group to die from Covid-19 after being admitted to hospital across the UK, according to a new study.
Data from 30,693 people admitted to 260 hospitals found a 19% increased risk of death with coronavirus for those who were south Asian compared with white people.
Experts behind the study at the University of Edinburgh said 40% of the south Asians in the group had diabetes – which was a “significant factor” in their increased risk of death.
The data was taken from hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales from February 6 to May 8, with patient follow-up to May 22.
The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal, included 1,388 people of south Asian background (5% of the total group), 266 who were east Asian (1%), 1,094 who were black (4%), 2,398 who were other ethnic minority (8%) and 25,547 who were white (83%).
Ethnic minorities were younger and more likely to have diabetes (type 1 and type 2) but had fewer other underlying health conditions such as chronic heart disease or dementia than people who were white.
The researchers concluded: “Ethnic minorities in hospital with Covid-19 were more likely to be admitted to critical care and receive IMV (ventilation) than whites, despite similar disease severity on admission, similar duration of symptoms, and being younger with fewer comorbidities.
The research comes as a delayed report into the reasons why black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME) are disproportionately contracting and dying from Covid-19 has increased pressure on the government to act immediately to address the problem.
The Public Health England (PHE) review, based on stakeholder engagement with more than 4,000 people, says historical racism may make BAME individuals less likely to seek care when needed or, as NHS staff, to speak up when they have concerns about personal protective equipment (PPE) or increased risk.