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Report Finds BAME Patients Are More Vulnerable To COVID-19

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A report has indicated that COVID-19 patients from BAME backgrounds are more vulnerable to coronavirus.

The report by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre found that 34% of coronavirus patients in critical care were from black or minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME).

Census data from 2011 indicated that Ethnic minorities made up 13% of the population, this appears to show that BAME patients are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 patients.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged that current data suggests that “black populations might be disproportionately affected by COVID-19”.

Non – Hispanic Black People Disproportionately Affected By COVID-19 Hospitalisations
Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Prof Kamlesh Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes and Vascular Medicine, University of Leicester, said:

“Data from UK and US has recently shown that Black Minority Ethnic Groups are more likely to have a severe disease form of COVID-19 requiring admission to intensive care unit.”

Experts and charitable organisations have acknowledged that BAME communities may be disproportionately impacted for a variety of factors such as dense populations and higher risk factors for several medical conditions.

Cultural Factors

Ahmed Afzal who lives in Birmingham said that cultural reasons could be a possible factor.

He said;  “As Muslims, we tend to live as extended families” and a lot of us go to work so “we have a greater risk of catching the virus” and bringing it back home.

Government statistics show that 30% of Bangladeshi households and 15% of black households were classified as overcrowded compared to 2% of white British households.

Ahmed was keen to learn if the higher risk factory was due to large numbers of NHS workers being of an ethnic minority or if diet and immune response played a part.

Prof Khunti said: “There may also be socio-economic reasons in view of BAME populations living in more deprived areas and also cultural reasons including BAME populations living with extended families which may make it difficult to socially distance and self isolate.”

NHS England has advised trusts to ‘risk assess’ frontline BAME workers

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