Severe COVID More Likely in Black, Asian Patients

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Black and Asian COVID-19 patients are more likely than white patients to have severe illness, a new British study finds.

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

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

While Asian patients weren’t more likely than white patients to be hospitalized, their need for intensive care and death rate in the hospital was higher than the other groups, the study found.

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

“The finding that Black versus Asian patients are affected in quite different ways, and that significant risk persists even after adjustment for deprivation and long-term health conditions, is striking,” said study co-author Dr. Ajay Shah, head of cardiovascular medicine and sciences at King’s College London.

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

“For Black patients, the issue may be how to prevent mild infection progressing to severe, whereas for Asian patients it may be how to treat life-threatening complications,” Shah said in a hospital news release.

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

“Why coronavirus hits people with an ethnic minority background harder, and how to mitigate this, has been complex to address,” she said in the release.

Dr. Chris Whitty — chief medical officer for the National Institute for Health Research, a U.K. agency that funds health care research — said the findings should help health care workers provide the best possible treatment to patients from ethnic minority groups.

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