Most people with Covid-19 do not end up in a hospital, but some groups get a very severe form of the disease. As early as the first wave, it was clear that minority ethnic groups in the United Kingdom were more likely to die of the disease compared with white people.

Part of this higher risk is down to socio-economic factors. For example, minority ethnic people in the UK are more likely to live in crowded areas compared with white people, and more likely to live in multi-generational households, so older people are more exposed to viruses carried by younger members of the family. They are also at higher risk because they are more likely to work in healthcare and care homes, which increases their risk of exposure to the virus. But that is not the whole story.

A large study published in The Lancet in May, found the risks of being hospitalised, needing intensive care, or dying because of Covid-19 in England were greater for Asian, Black and mixed ethnicity groups compared with white people during the first pandemic wave in the UK (spring 2020).

In the second wave, the risk among Black and mixed ethnic groups decreased – but the opposite was found for South Asians. For them, the risk of ending up in hospital or dying of…

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