Today (8 February 2021), a new study on the ethnic differences in COVID-19 mortality during the first two waves of the coronavirus pandemic has been published. This was a collaboration between the Office for National Statistics (ONS), University of Oxford, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and University of Leicester.
The article details the difference in risk of coronavirus (COVID-19)-related death between ethnic groups in the two waves of the pandemic. It also investigates if the factors explaining differences in COVID-19-related death between ethnic groups had changed between the two waves.
Our study showed that the risk of COVID-19 mortality during the first wave of the pandemic was higher in people from an ethnic minority background, both in men and women, compared with people from the White ethnic background. There was a reduction of COVID-19 mortality during the second wave of the pandemic in most of the ethnic groups, while the higher rates continued in men and women from Bangladeshi and Pakistani background.
Geographical factors explained more than half of the differences in COVID-19 mortality risk in the first wave, but much less in the second wave. Socio-demographic factors explained a similar proportion of the elevated risks of people from Bangladeshi and Pakistani background in the first and second waves. Adjusting for comorbidities did not substantially reduce the ethnic difference in risk of COVID-19-related death, after other factors that had already been accounted for.