Minority ethnic Covid death gap shrinks, according to ONS

a healthcare professional seen from behind wearing an NHS lanyard

According to new Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, people from ethnic minorities are no longer disproportionately more likely to die from COVID-19.

Between January and November 2022, when Omicron was the predominate Covid variant, analysts examined mortality rates for various ethnic communities.

Black and Asian people were more likely than white people to die from the coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic.

Pakistani, Black Caribbean, and Bangladeshi groups posed the greatest risk.

All ethnic minority covid mortality rates dropped last year. The most recent statistics demonstrate that there is no appreciable statistical difference in the number of Covid deaths between the white population and ethnic minorities.

According to the ONS, "all cause" mortality rates—which gauge how likely it is for people to pass away from any cause, including Covid-19—have reached pre-pandemic levels.

The causes of this change are nuanced, and experts note that there are "various factors" to take into account.

At the beginning of the pandemic, "we knew very little about [Covid-19], how it transmitted, and how to mitigate its spread and impact," according to Dr. Veena Raleigh, senior fellow at The King's Fund and epidemiologist.

"People who were most exposed to or vulnerable to the virus—older people, those in front-line jobs, important personnel in the NHS, those working in public transportation, etc.—were those who were most affected by the virus. And of course, a disproportionate number of ethnic minorities fill those positions, she added.

"At first, the virus had a terrible effect on mortality. But over time, we gained more knowledge about how this virus spreads. For instance, different social controls on the spread of infection were put in place, such as mask use and social seclusion. Thus, that contributed to reducing ethnic disparities.

"The vaccination program naturally followed after that. Additionally, a sizeable portion of the population is immunized or has some immunity to the virus because they have been exposed, despite the fact that vaccination rates are lower in some ethnic minority groups.

"All of these elements have helped to lessen racial disparities in Covid-19 mortality over time. ".

Omicron has lower overall mortality rates compared to other variants.

A prior ONS study compared Omicron BA deaths and was published in the British Medical Journal in June of last year. 1 with a different variation, Delta.

In contrast to patients who contracted Delta, those who contracted Omicron had a 66 percent lower risk of dying from Covid-19.

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