Asian, Black Patients More Likely to Die of COVID-19, Claims Study Probing Ethnicity-Linked Outcomes


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rack up a death toll across the globe, with governments rolling out vaccination programmes in an effort to stop the spread of the respiratory disease, extensive research continues to probe the plethora of factors that are behind the different outcomes of the infection among diverse populations.

COVID-19 patients of Asian and black descent suffered disproportionate rates of premature death from the infection, a recent study has concluded.

A team of researchers from Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust looked at 1,737 patients to conduct an in-depth study to explore coronavirus outcomes in black, Asian, and minority ethnic populations. The results of the study were published in BMJ Open.

Noelene Lewis receives the first of two injections with a dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Justine Braid at a NHS vaccine centre that has been set up in the grounds of the horse racing course at Epsom in Surrey, Britain December 16, 2020

The researchers looked at data from all patients aged 16 years or over with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections, admitted to the five acute hospitals within Barts Health NHS Trust, between 1 January and 13 May 2020. 538 patients (31 percent) were from Asian, 340 (20 percent) black, and 707 (40 percent) white backgrounds.

The study showed that 511 had died by day 30 (29 percent).

Compared with white patients, those from minority ethnic backgrounds were younger and less frail, suggests the study.

The cohort research also showed that Asian patients were 1.54 times more likely, and black patients 1.8 times more likely, to be admitted to ICU and to receive invasive ventilation, compared to white patients.

Patients from Asian backgrounds were determined as 1.49 times more likely to die from the disease compared to those from white backgrounds, and patients from black backgrounds were 1.30 times more likely to suffer a lethal outcome.

A patient is seen lying on a bed in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) on New Year’s Day at the United Memorial Medical Center on January 1, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

A 50-80 percent increased risk of receiving mechanical ventilation in ICU was cited for Asian and black patients compared with white patients of a similar age.

Wan added that Black and Asian people admitted to Barts Health hospitals with confirmed coronavirus were ‘significantly younger in age, had greater acute disease severity, and higher mortality relative to white patients of the same age and baseline health’.

The importance of responding to the ethnic disparities in the impact of COVID-19 was underscored by the team as yet another critical issue in dealing with the pandemic.

Queen Mary University of London

“Authentic community based participatory research to understand the drivers of these differences, and co-creation of solutions are key to achieving health equity in these communities,” added Dr. Vanessa Apea, Consultant Physician in Sexual Health and HIV at Barts Health NHS Trust and Honorary Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London.



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