Coronavirus

Covid-19: Ethnic Minority death rate drops 50% in last 6 weeks compared to White British. Time to re-evaluate?

The Public Health England report “Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19” and the subsequent “Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups” was based on the analysis published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) “Deaths involving COVID-19, England and Wales: deaths occurring in April 2020″.

This resulted in the general conclusion that the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) population were more likely to die from Covid-19 than the White British population.

The ONS report collected data from 2 sources which both showed that the BAME population represented ~ 17% of deaths ( 83% White) from Covid-19; this is compared to the total population split of 13% ( 2011 Census). Hence the conclusion about the disproportionality of deaths in the BAME population.

The NHS England data for the period to 12 May 2020 supported this same percentage for BAME deaths ( ~ 17%)

From the same NHS England data source from 12 May – 19 June, the split is markedly different.

 

This shows the increase in the last 5-6 weeks ( in effect the 2nd half of the pandemic, so far) for the BAME population is ~7% of the deaths – a significant reduction from the previous 17%

Comment

The interpretation of the original data informing the risk level of the BAME population was flawed. As quoted in the latest Public Health England (PHE) report “Beyond the data: Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups”

“These analyses did not account for the effect of occupation, comorbidities or obesity. These are important factors because they are associated with the risk of acquiring COVID-19, the risk of dying, or both. Other evidence has shown that when comorbidities are included, the difference in risk of death between ethnic groups among hospitalised patients is greatly reduced.”

The analysis also doesn’t take account of any genetic factors e.g. the relative ability of people with different skin colours to generate Vitamin D. Also, :

“Mortality data has primarily relied on hospital reported deaths; not including care home deaths could artificially inflate BAME deaths as more white British older adults reside in nursing and residential homes”

Ethnicity is not routinely recorded, and is not on the death certificate; this is the data source for the ONS reporting. The ONS had to track back to the 2011 census to obtain ethnicity of each individual

This quote from the same PHE report is most pertinent:

“In their view ( 4000 people consulted from within BAME population), COVID-19 did not create health inequalities, but rather the pandemic exposed and exacerbated longstanding inequalities affecting BAME communities in the UK.”

The mass media, fuelled by limited tentative data from expedited reports, has created a level of anxiety in the BAME community which is unnecessarily exaggerated. There is no evidence that BAME people are, fundamentally, more at risk from Covid-19 than the wider population.

To the extent that the data focuses attention on underlying social issues, and inspires action, then it is a good outcome – but we should be wary of force-fitting data to suit a political agenda.

Categories: Coronavirus

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  1. Not before time somebody challenged the ‘statistics’. Covid 19 (coronavirus) is potentially deadly to unhealthy people particularly with lung related diseases as Covid 19 feeds off the tissue in your lungs and blocks oxygen from entering your lungs affecting your breathing. It doesn’t matter about your age or colour it’s about your health and the strength of your immune system which kills the coronavirus. As you get older your health deteriorates and your immune system is not at its optimum which makes you vulnerable to infection. You can boost your immune system with garlic, vitamin c and as you rightly said vitamin d3 which is produced by sunlight. Also your diet can boost your immune system like beans, bananas, yoghurt, etc. Obese people have breathing difficulties and no doubt don’t have the healthiest of diets and people with dark skin don’t generate as much vitamin d3 which is excellent for your immune system. Stress also creates a hormone called cortisol which weakens the immune system. Hence black people consider they suffer from racism (discrimination), are poorly paid and live in deprived areas. A combination of stress, poor diet and vitamin d3 would make their immune system less likely to work to its optimum to kill the virus as quickly as healthier younger people. This applies to white people who have a poor diet and suffer from stress which would account for the death rate being higher in deprived areas. It should be noted the Flu is a coronavirus and the risk of death from covid 19 is extremely low. 27 people under the age of 45 in Scotland have died out a population of 5.5 million and 60 people under 50 in Sweden from a population of 10 million. Bearing in mind Sweden did not lockdown or social distance and their deaths per capita were less than Scotland and England. Sweden also kept their schools open for under 16 and there have been no deaths.Healthy children appear to have a next to zero chance of dying from covid 19 and therefore there is absolutely no reason why schools shouldn’t open with no social distancing. The argument is that children could transmit the virus but everyone, nurses, doctors and care workers can transmit the virus and they are dealing directly with the people who are at more risk of dying and still not all patients, residents, nurses, doctors and care workers have been tested and regularly tested. Vulnerable people should be given vitamin supplements and a change of diet to boost their immune system to give them a better chance of beating the virus. The only people who should be wearing clinically tested face masks in the community, (on public transport, in shops etc) are unhealthy and vulnerable people as the coronavirus is no worse than any previous virus to relatively healthy young and elderly people. You can gain herd immunity and protect the most vulnerable people at the same time.

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