Black people in the United Kingdom (UK) are four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white people and a number of other ethnic groups are also at an increased risk, according to new data released Thursday.
A report by the Office for National Statistics found black women (defined by the study as Black Caribbean, Black African and Black Other) are 4.3 times more likely to die with Covid-19 than white women, while black men are 4.2 more likely to die.
People of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, and mixed ethnicities also had a “statistically significant raised risk of death,” the report found. The disparities are “partly a result of socio-economic disadvantage and other circumstances, but a remaining part of the difference has not yet been explained,” the study said.
Even after taking into account age, demographic factors and measures of self-reported health problems, black people were still almost twice as likely to die from Covid-19 than white people.
While the report was unable to clearly outline every factor behind the trend, its conclusions make clear the the pandemic — frequently referred to as a “great equalizer” — is anything but.
“It is urgent the causes of this disproportionality are investigated,” the UK’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy tweeted on Thursday, calling the findings “appalling.”
“Action must be taken to protect black men and women — as well as people from all backgrounds — from the virus,” he added.
The data covers the period up to April 10. Its figures are supported by previous studies, which have also found black people in the UK are dying at a far higher rate than their white peers.
An analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank found last week that people from black African backgrounds were 3.7 times more likely to die in hospital from the disease than white people.
That study said excess deaths cannot be explained by differences in geography and demography alone — nor is it accounted for by non-hospital deaths. And the findings also chime with similar reports in the United States, where African Americans have died from Covid-19 at a disproportionately high rate.
In Chicago, 72% of people who died were black, officials said in April, despite African Americans only making up 30% of the city’s population. In Louisiana, African Americans make up 32% of the population, but account for around 70% of deaths.
The UK has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe, announcing on Wednesday that more than 30,000 people have died since the start of the outbreak.