A UK-based think tank said that some ethnic minorities in Britain have been disproportionately affected COVID-19 and have reported more deaths than others. In a report published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), researchers found that the impact of the pandemic is not uniform across ethnic groups.
According to the report, the per-capita deaths due to COVID-19 are highest among the black Caribbean population and three times those of the white British majority. While Bangladeshi fatalities are lower, some other minority groups including Pakistanis and black Africans have seen similar numbers of hospital deaths per capita to the population average.
The study highlighted that inequalities in mortality relative to the white British majority are starker for most minority groups after accounting for their age, gender and geographic profiles. Bangladeshi hospital fatalities are twice those of the white British group, Pakistani deaths are 2.9 times as high and black African deaths 3.7 times as high after stripping out the role of age and geography.
“The unequal effects of the COVID-19 crisis on different ethnic groups are likely to be the result of a complex set of economic, social and health-related factors,” the report read.
Analysing the gender-based impact on minority communities, the study said that the case of women more likely to work in shut-down sectors is only for the white ethnic groups. It noted that Bangladeshi men are four times as likely as white British men to have jobs in shut-down industries, due in large part to their concentration in the restaurant sector.
Similarly, Pakistani men are nearly three times as likely, partly due to their concentration in taxi driving. Meanwhile, Black African and black Caribbean men are both 50% more likely than white British men to be in shut-down sectors. The report highlighted that understanding the reason behind such differences is crucial for thinking about the role policy can play in addressing inequalities.