Ethnic Groups in England At High Risk of COVID-19

The past pandemics have often disproportionately impacted ethnic minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations. While early evidence suggests that the same may be occurring in the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, research into the subject remains limited.

A team of researchers at the University of Glasgow and Public Health Scotland, UK analysed data on 392,116 participants in the UK Biobank study, a large long-term study investigating the contribution of genes and the environment to the development of disease.

UK Biobank data, which include information on social and demographic factors, such as ethnicity and socioeconomic position, health and behavioural risk factors, were linked to results of COVID-19 tests conducted in England between 16th March 2020 and 3rd May 2020.

Out of the total number of participants whose data were analysed, 348,735 were White British, 7,323 were South Asian and 6,395 were from black ethnic backgrounds.

2,658 participants had been tested for SARS-CoV-2 and 948 had at least one positive test. Out of those, 726 received a positive test in a hospital setting, suggesting more severe illness.