A number of studies are underway as researchers try to understand how the coronavirus spreads, and how it affects different sectors of society.
In the UK, where the Johns Hopkins map records in excess of 200 000 confirmed cases and more than 25 000 deaths, scientists are trying to determine whether or not race and ethnicity play a part in infection and mortality rates.
The study, which is limited to the UK, revealed its data just as Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed easing the lockdown from next week.
Over to Sky News, who spoke to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) head of health analysis, Nick Stripe, about the following findings:
New analysis published on Thursday showed black women are more likely to die by a factor of 4.3 and black men by 4.2 after adjusting for age compared to Caucasian people.
Other ethnic minorities are also at higher risk.
Those with Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds were found to be 3.6 times more likely to die in men and 3.4 in women.
While among people with Indian ethnicity, women were 2.7 times more likely to die and men 2.4.
For the Chinese ethnic group, the heightened risk for men was 1.9 and 1.2 for women.
Deaths from COVID-19 were also found to be higher in those who live in “deprived” areas of the UK, where people from ethnic minority backgrounds mainly live.
“There’s really a strong social gradient to mortality rates generally, and even more for COVID,” explained Stripe.
However he cautioned that when adjusting for other factors – such as household composition, area deprivation, and any health or disability factors – the odds of death involving COVID-19 were “substantially reduced” for all ethnic groups relative to white people.
Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, cautions that while the ONS revealed the numbers, they didn’t expand on the reasons behind their findings.
“Race inequality is persistent across Britain, with people from ethnic minorities facing disadvantage in their living conditions, access to healthcare and economic opportunities, among other areas, which could be contributing factors.”
These are contributing factors in all societies.
The Guardian breaks down some stats worth taking notice of:
While only 2% of white British households experienced overcrowding from 2014 to 2017, 30% of Bangladeshi households, 16% of Pakistani households and 12% of black households experienced this, according to a study of the English Housing Survey.
These groups are more likely to work in frontline roles in the NHS in England, where nearly 21% of staff are non-white, compared with about 14% of the population of England and Wales.
Black, Bangladeshi and Pakistani populations have been shown to face higher levels of unemployment and child poverty than white groups.
Whilst the statistics above are solely for the UK, you would imagine that the number of households in South Africa that experience overcrowding would also be largely divided along racial lines.
As with most things, it’s the poorer socio-economic groups that suffer the most.
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