covid-19: No. 10 launches review into why ethnic minorities have been disproportionately affected by virus


LONDON: Downing Street has confirmed that the UK government is launching a review into whether there is a disproportionate number of Covid-19 cases in the UK amongst ethnic minorities and, if so, the reasons for it.
A No. 10 spokesman told TOI on Thursday: “We are launching the review and Public Health England and the NHS will lead on this. The review will look at why people from BAME backgrounds appear to be disproportionately affected by coronavirus.”
The move comes after it was revealed that the first 10 doctors to die in the UK from Covid-19 were all from ethnic minorities. Two India-born doctors have died of Covid-19 in the UK and at least five senior Indian-origin doctors are on ventilators with the disease. Around a third of NHS doctors are of Indian-origin.
A report by ICNARC (Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre) looking at Covid cases in NHS hospitals up to April 3 has found that more than a third of patients (35%) admitted to critical care with Covid were non-white, even though non-whites made up 14 % of the population at the last census. And 13.8% of those cases were Asian even though Asians made up just 7.5% of the UK population at the last census.
Similarly 14.4% of those critically ill with confirmed Covid-19 receiving advance respiratory support were Asian. Blacks also made up a disproportionately high percentage of cases in the report.
The president of BAPIO (British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin), Dr Ramesh Mehta, last week wrote to health chiefs calling for Covid-19 data to incorporate ethnicity, following concerns the numbers affected were disproportionately high. He told TOI: “We welcome this news but we want to look closely at what they are doing and we are already planning to do our own research into this.”


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