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Probe launched into Covid-19 minorities 'link'

By Peter Madeley | Coronavirus | Published:

Health bosses in the Midlands say they are examining whether there is a link between coronavirus and ethnicity.

A new report suggested that 35 per cent of critically ill coronavirus patients in the UK are from black or ethnic minority backgrounds – more than double their representation in the population.

It follows similar studies in the US, where ethnic minority groups make up a disproportionately high number of Covid-19 victims in cities such as Chicago.

Dr Rashmi Shukla, the Director of Public Health for the Midlands and East of England, said that some parts of the NHS did not "routinely" collect data on patients' ethnicity.

More Covid-19 coverage:

She said that while anecdotal evidence had suggested a link, there was not enough evidence available at this stage to draw any firm conclusions.

Dr Shukla said the ethnicity of Covid-19 victims was "one of the pieces of work we need to collect data on".

"We don't routinely collect this data in some parts of our health and care system," she said.

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Dr Rashmi Shukla

"What we do know is that this disease, like many infectious diseases, affects those that are perhaps from the most disadvantaged communities.

"We also know that people who have pre-existing health conditions... obviously some ethnic minority groups are more at risk of certain conditions like diabetes and hypertension than perhaps other ethnic groups.

"There are a number of these factors that we need to look at and understand what is specific about ethnicity that might be a factor here.

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"It is something that has come up and more work needs to be done."

Dr Shukla referenced new data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre, saying it showed that a higher proportion of Covid-19 patients who ended up in intensive care came from ethnic minority communities.

"That gives us some idea that there might be something worth looking at, but we can't be completely conclusive about it at this stage because we don't have the information," she added.

"It is something that the NHS and public health people are looking at."

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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