Coronavirus: Black people in England over four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white people, says ONS

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
A security man wearing protective personal equipment controls a queue outside a branch of Natwest Bank in East Ham, east London. (PA)

Black people in England and Wales are more likely to die from a coronavirus-related death than white people, according to new analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Figures showed that black women in England and Wales are 4.3 times more likely to die after contracting the virus, while black men are 4.2 times more likely to do so, after accounting for age, figures showed.

As ethnicity is not recorded on death certificates, the ONS has used data on death registrations up to 17 April, combined with 2011 census records, to model the impact coronavirus is having on different ethnic groups.

The data, which has been adjusted for age, suggests that men and women from all ethnic minority groups – except females with Chinese ethnicity – are at greater risk of dying from COVID-19 compared with those of white ethnicity.

The ONS analysis also suggests that, accounting for age, males of Bangladeshi/Pakistani ethnicity are 3.6 times more likely to die from a COVID-19-related death than white males, while the equivalent figure for Bangladeshi/Pakistani females is 3.4.

Males of Indian ethnicity are 2.4 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white males. The figure for females of Indian ethnicity is slightly higher, at 2.7.

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For the Chinese ethnic group, the ONS found a raised risk among males but not females. Males are 1.9 times more likely to die from COVID-19, while the figure for females is 1.2.

The ONS said the results suggest that the difference is partly due to socio-economic disadvantage and other circumstances, but some of the reasons remain unexplained.

After taking account of other factors, such as health and disability, black men and women were 1.9 times more likely to die with COVID-19 than those of white ethnicity.

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said the figures showing black people were at greater risk of death from COVID were "appalling".

Labour's David Lammy described the figures as 'appalling'. (Twitter)

He tweeted: "It is urgent the causes of this disproportionality are investigated. Action must be taken to protect black men and women – as well as people from all backgrounds – from the virus."

The figures come as separate research suggested people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities are two to three times more likely to die from coronavirus.

The likelihood of death from COVID-19 is significantly higher among England's BAME groups than the general population, analysis by University College London (UCL) scientists indicates.

They found the risk of death from the virus for black African groups was 3.24 times higher than the general population.

In people of Pakistani background it was 3.29 times higher, 2.41 times higher for Bangladeshi, black Caribbean was 2.21 times higher, and Indian was 1.7 times higher.

According to the study, which has not been peer reviewed, there was a lower risk of death from COVID-19 for white populations in England.

After accounting for region and age, the risk of death for white British was 12% (0.88 times) lower than that of the general population and white Irish was half (0.52 times) lower.

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