Black, Asian people in Britain have higher COVID-19 death rates: study

report released on Friday by the British government noted that Black and Asian people in Britain had higher death rates amid the COVID-19 pandemic than their white counterparts.

In a final report regarding the United Kingdom government’s response in addressing COVID-19 health inequalities, it found that excess deaths — “number of deaths which have occurred in addition to the deaths expected for that time of year, as determined by mortality rates from earlier years” — were higher for Black and Asian people at different periods in 2020.

The report found that from the week ending March 27, 2020, through Sept. 11, 2020, Black people had the highest excess death rate. However, Asian residents were found to have the highest excess death rate in the following period, from the week ending Sept. 18, 2020, through April 2, 2021. 

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The report noted that white people had the lowest excess death rate during both periods.

Raghib Ali, an independent COVID-19 and ethnicity adviser for the British government, said that with the first two waves of COVID-19, ethnic minorities had a higher death rate given that they had a higher risk of infection, according to The Associated Press.

“We are seeing lower infection rates in ethnic minorities than in white people, but rates of hospital admissions and deaths are still higher, with the pattern now matching levels of vaccine uptake in higher risk groups,” Ali said regarding developments within the last few months, according to the news outlet.

The report noted that vaccination rates remain lowest among Black people in the U.K. and highest among white residents. It also found that Black residents had the lowest vaccine confidence out of all racial groups — at 79 percent — compared to white people, Asians and other groups, which was between 93 percent and 96 percent. 

The news comes as about 69 percent of Britons are fully vaccinated, per data from Johns Hopkins University. Infections have stayed somewhat stagnant in the country, though confirmed cases of the omicron virus variant have now been detected within its borders.

Scientists are not entirely sure yet how contagious the new variant is and are working to learn more about it at breakneck speed.