10/18 News Flash 10: COVID-19 Is More Severe in People of Minority Ethnic Backgrounds

Graphic by Ishani Singh.

Compared to white patients, a study by researchers at King’s College London has found that patients of Black ethnicity have an increased risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19, while patients of Asian ethnicity have an increased risk of dying in hospital from COVID-19.

This indicates that different treatment strategies may be more effective for different ethnic groups. For Black patients, treatment options that prevent mild infections from progressing to severe may be more critical. For Asian patients, treating life-threatening complications may be more urgent.

While socioeconomic factors and having other diseases contribute to the impact of COVID-19 on minority communities, even after accounting for these factors, the study showed that certain common biological factors are at play, and these lead to different subgroups being affected in different ways.

The results of this study are likely applicable across all of London, but more research is needed to ensure that this connection is evident in other countries. Future research is also needed to assess a patient’s occupation, access to health care, and difference in the journey once the patient has reached the hospital.