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Covid: Hospitalisation, death risk higher among South Asians in UK

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London, May 2 (IANS) People of South Asian origin, living in the UK, are at higher risk for testing positive with Covid-19 and also at increased risks of hospitalisation, ICU admission, and death, according to an observational study published in The Lancet.

The risk observed is higher in the second wave of coronavirus than the first wave, said researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.

The group was also at high risk of testing positive in the first wave than other minority ethnic groups in the country.

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Health factors such as Body Mass Index, blood pressure, underlying health conditions played the biggest role in explaining excess risks for all outcomes in South Asian groups.

Moreover, size of the household also played an important reason for the disparity for Covid-19 mortality in South Asian groups, the findings showed.

“Despite the improvements seen in most minority ethnic groups in the second wave compared to the first, it’s concerning to see that the disparity widened among South Asian groups. This highlights an urgent need to find effective prevention measures that fit with the needs of the UK’s ethnically diverse population,” said lead author Rohini Mathur, from the varsity.

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“To improve Covid-19 outcomes, we urgently need to tackle the wider disadvantage and structural racism faced by these communities, as well as improving access to care and reducing transmission,” she added.

The team used the new secure OpenSAFELY data analytics platform to analyse partially anonymised electronic health data collected covering 40 per cent of England.

These records were linked to other national coronavirus-related data sets for the first and second waves of the pandemic — including testing, hospital data and mortality records. Ethnicity was self-reported by participants in records and grouped into five census categories (white, South Asian, Black, other, mixed) and then a further 16 sub-groups.

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Of 17,288,532 adults included in the study, 63 per cent (10,877,978) were white, 5.9 per cent (1,025,319) South Asian, 2 per cent (340,912) Black, 1.8 per cent (320,788) other, and 1 per cent (170,484) mixed. Ethnicity was unknown for 26.3 per cent (4,553,051) people.

–IANS

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