Researchers from the United Kingdom have pointed out the factors like age, sex, race, and ethnicity can increase the risk of death due to COVID-19. The study was conducted in England with data from more than 17 million people.
Williamson, Walker, Bhaskaran, Bacon, and Bates published their research under the supervision of Smeeth and Goldacre, pointing to the risk factors that may cause death due to coronavirus. The article was published in the journal Nature that has reports of different countries with older adults, racial, ethical minorities, and men who have health conditions and are among critical patients of coronavirus.
The data for the study included the health records of the England population (40%) that were collected by the National Health Service of the United Kingdom. For three months, 17, 278, 392 adults’ data were recorded, and of them, 10,926 passed away due to complications in coronavirus infection.
The research team found that among the people who died, the people older than 80 years had 20 times increased chances to die than the ones in their 40’s’s and 50’s’s. Besides, men are more vulnerable and have a higher likelihood of experiencing severe symptoms and scum to death than women of the same age.
People suffering from underlying medical conditions like diabetes, obesity, asthma, and low immunity have poor outcomes for the COVID-19 infection. The socioeconomic factors of poverty also have an association with the chances of death.
The compelling finding of the study on ethnicity and race pointed out that South Asian and Black people are more likely to die than white patients. Dr. Goldacre and his associates adjusted the statistics to understand the factors of age, sex, and prior medical conditions. They suggested that the social and structural inequalities in the ethical and racial minorities have experienced the worst effects of coronavirus.
Uchechi Mitchell at the University of Illinois Chicago commented on the study,
“The causes of disparities, whether in COVID-19 or other aspects of health, are intricately linked to structural racism.”
Researchers of study have pointed out that the purpose of the study was not to highlight the cause and effect relationship of coronavirus deaths and the risk factors.
Criticisms have been made on the study, despite the extensive sample data on the methodological factors. Critics have pointed out that black individuals are likely to have stress and heart diseases with a lack of resources and denial of medical care. Most of the Latino and African-Americans work in the essential in-person and front-line employee jobs that prevent shelter at safe homes. Moreover, they have a household of multigenerational communities that is a compromise to the social distancing practice. Implicit bias and language barriers also affect access to healthcare.
Dr. Barber commented in consideration for racial inequalities,
“I think what we are seeing is real, and it is not a surprise. We can learn from this study and improve on it. It gives us clues into what might be happening.”