Covid: Nearly all ethnic minority groups have a higher death rate than white population

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman

All ethnic minority groups other than Chinese had a higher Covid death rate than the white population across both genders, according to the latest data release.

While males of black African, black Caribbean and Bangladeshi ethnic backgrounds are dying at a "higher rate" of Covid than any other group.

Rates among these minority ethnic groups exceeded 250 deaths per 100,000 people in the latest data gathered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) between March 2 and July 28 in England and Wales.

Previous analysis had combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups, but new estimates show the latter group had a "significantly higher risk" of Covid-19 mortality.

The rate among these groups is more than double that of males from white backgrounds, with a Covid mortality rate of 106.8 deaths per 100,000. That figure is lower than all other ethnic groups apart from Chinese.

A stretcher which had been used recently to transport a body into a temporary morgue at a mosque in Birmingham. Credit: PA

The latest data is in line with findings up to 15 May, where males and females of Black and South Asian ethnic background were shown to have increased risks of death involving coronavirus compared with those of White ethnic background.

Compared to earlier in the pandemic, analysts have gone to greater measures to include "more detailed ethnic group categories" in the data set.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of British Medical Association Council, discusses how Covid has impacted ethnic minorities

For the first time, the ONS also factored in account geography, socio-economic characteristics and health measures including pre-existing conditions..

Taking all of these additional factors males of black African background still had a 2.5 times higher rate of death involving Covid-19 than those of a white background.

For females, based on the same factors, the risk was 2.1 times greater risk.

But the ONS said even factoring in "specific pre-existing conditions" that put people at greater risk of dying from Covid more generally, this still "does not explain" difference in death rates between different ethnic groups.

Among females, white women were found to have the lowest age-standardised Covid mortality rate at 65.7 deaths per 100,000.

While the rate for females of black Caribbean ethnic background was nearly double at 128.8 deaths per 100,000.

This group had the highest death rate of any ethnic background and "significantly higher" than those of white, Indian, mixed and Chinese ethnic backgrounds.

During the peak of the pandemic, an average of 400 care home residents were dying each day in the UK. Credit: PA

For the first time, ONS analysis has also looked at Covid-19 mortality rates by ethnic group among the care home population of England and Wales.

It found that males of Asian ethnic background and females of black and Asian ethnic background had a raised rate of death involving Covid-19 compared with people of white ethnic background.

Again, the measure took into account geography and health measures.

Analysts stressed data contrasts from care homes do not show the same extent of increased risk evident among ethnic minorities in the general population, with "only a small significant increased risk for Asian males and black and Asian females".

Dr Chaand Nagpaul spoke of his upset at the government not honouring their commitment and moral responsibility by carrying out Public Health England's Review recommendations from June

Simon Jones, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, from the end of life charity, Marie Curie, said: “This pandemic continues to highlight the stark scale of health inequality in our country, particularly for people from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds. Addressing this must be an urgent priority.

“This data lifts the lid on very important issues. We need to understand the experiences of the huge numbers of people who have been dying at home during this period too. We know that many people experience barriers to accessing palliative care services and as a result may not have had the care and support they will have needed.

“Everyone, no matter who they are, or where they live must have access to high quality care and support at the end of their lives.”