CAPE TOWN – A study on how Covid-19 affects different ethnic groups has shown that people of black and Asian ethnicities are up to twice as likely to be infected with Covid-19 compared to white individuals.
The study, published in the EClinical Medicine by The Lancet, is based on pooled data from more than 18 million people who had taken part in 50 studies in the UK and US.
The data also suggests that the risk of being admitted to intensive care after catching coronavirus may be twice as high for Asians when compared to those from white ethnicities.
According to the study these ethnic groups were more likely to be employed as essential workers, and hence less able to work from home, the study said. Therefore, they continued to have contact with others through work or commuting, thereby being left more exposed to infection.
They are also more likely to have lower socioeconomic status, which may increase the likelihood of living in overcrowded households, or accommodation with shared facilities, the findings suggested.
The researchers warned against attributing these increased risks to genetics rather than social factors.
One of the studies senior authors Dr. Manish Pareek, said the findings suggest that the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black and Asian communities is mainly attributable to increased risk of infection in these communities.
“There were many possible reasons why Black and Asian people are at a higher risk of catching the virus, including a greater likelihood of living in a larger household, being more likely to be employed in jobs that cannot be done from home, and lower socioeconomic status,” said Pareek.
For LIVE updates on the Coronavirus pandemic, follow us on Twitter: @sacoronamonitor