South Asians most likely to die of COVID-19 in UK hospitals

First images of Covid-19 virus in India released

London:  South Asian people are the most likely to die from coronavirus after being admitted to hospitals in the UK, according to a major analysis.

Twenty-seven institutions across the UK, including universities and public health bodies, as well as 260 hospitals, were involved in the study which revealed that it was the only ethnic group to have a raised risk of death in hospital and is partly due to high levels of diabetes, reports the BBC.

The study, the largest of its type in the world, is hugely significant as it assessed data from four-in-10 of all hospital patients with COVID-19.

The findings have been made public online ahead of being formally published in a medical journal.

The study surveyed nearly 35,000 COVID-19 patients in 260 hospitals across England, Scotland and Wales up until the middle of May.

“South Asians are definitely more likely to die from Covid-19 in hospital, but we don’t see a strong effect in the black group,” Professor Ewen Harrison, from the University of Edinburgh, told the BBC.

“The South Asian population in hospital looks completely different to the white population,” Harrison said.

“They’re 12 years younger on average, that’s a massive difference, and they tend not to have dementia, obesity or lung disease, but very high levels of diabetes.”

Around 40 per cent of South Asian patients had either type 1 or type 2 diabetes compared with 25 per cent of white groups, according to the study.

Diabetes has a dual effect of increasing the risk of infection and damaging the body’s organs, which may affect the ability to survive a coronavirus infection.

Earlier work by Public Health England showed people of Bangladeshi heritage were dying at twice the rate of white people, while other black, Asian and minority ethnic groups had between 10 per cent and 50 per cent higher risk of death, the BBC reported.

Although that did not account for other factors such as occupation, health problems and obesity.

As of Friday, the UK accounted for a total of 301,935 COVID-19 cases, with 42,373 deaths, currently the highest in Europe.