Covid-19 death rate in England higher among BAME people

People of Bangladeshi origin face greatest danger of dying in pandemic, according to PHE

Death rates from Covid-19 in England have been higher among people of black and Asian origin than any other ethnic group, a government-ordered inquiry has found.

In addition, those people of black backgrounds are the ethnic group most likely to be diagnosed with the disease, which has claimed almost 50,000 lives in the UK since February.

People of Bangladeshi background face the greatest danger of dying from the disease, according to a review by Public Health England. Their risk of death is double that seen among white British people, says PHE’s report, which was published on Tuesday.


People of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean and other black backgrounds also face a much higher risk of death – of between 10% and 50% – compared with white Britons.

Age standardised death rates

The high death rates in black and Asian communities are a significant reversal of previous trends, because until the pandemic white Britons were the ethnic group most likely to die from any cause, PHE says.

Its report, entitled Disparities in the risk and outcomes from Covid-19, says: “Death rates from Covid-19 were highest among people of black and Asian ethnic groups.

“This is the opposite of what is seen in previous years, when the mortality rates were lower in Asian and black ethnic groups than white ethnic groups. Therefore the disparity in Covid-19 mortality between ethnic groups is the opposite of that seen in previous years.”

Death rates of Bangladeshi people compared with other ethnic groups

Labour MP David Lammy, who is shadow secretary of state for justice, said Public Health England’s findings demanded urgent action by ministers. 

He tweeted: “Confirmation: Black and Asian ethnic groups are up to twice as likely to die from covid-19. Families are living in fear. There must be no more delay. The government must take urgent action to protect at-risk groups.”


Denis Campbell and Haroon Siddique

The GuardianTramp

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