Severe COVID More Likely in Black, Asian Patients

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay reporter

TUESDAY, October 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Black and Asian COVID-19 patients are more likely than white patients to have serious illness, according to a new UK study.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 1,800 adult patients with COVID-19 admitted to King’s College Hospital in London between March 1 and June 2.

Black or mixed ethnicity patients were three times more likely to be admitted to hospital than white patients. Survival rates were about the same for black and white patients.

While Asian patients were no more likely than white patients to be hospitalized, their need for intensive care and hospital death rates were higher than other groups, according to the study.

Ethnic minority patients were 10 to 15 years younger than white patients and had higher rates of other health problems, especially diabetes, according to results published Oct. 9 in the journal. EClinicMedicine.

“The finding that black patients compared to Asian patients are affected in very different ways and that the significant risk persists even after adjusting for deprivation and long-term health issues is striking,” said the co-author of the study, Dr Ajay Shah, head of cardiovascular medicine and science at King’s College London.

He said this strongly suggests that other, possibly biological, factors are important and that different treatment strategies may be needed for different ethnic groups.

“For black patients, the problem may be how to prevent a mild infection from progressing to a serious infection, while for Asian patients it may be how to treat life-threatening complications,” Shah said in a press release from the hospital.

Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said the impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities has been seen around the world.

“Why the coronavirus hits people from ethnic minorities the hardest, and how to alleviate it, has been difficult to resolve,” she said in the statement.

Dr Chris Whitty – chief medical officer at the National Institute for Health Research, a UK agency that funds healthcare research – said the findings should help healthcare workers provide the best possible treatment for patients from minority ethnic groups.

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