By Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Nov. 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Black and Asian people in the United States and the United Kingdom have significantly higher odds of COVID-19 infection compared to white people, a large research review finds.
The study authors analyzed data from more than 18 million COVID-19 patients who were part of 50 studies published between Dec. 1, 2019 and Aug. 31, 2020.
Compared to white patients, Black patients had twice the odds of COVID-19 infection and the risk was 1.5 times higher among Asian patients, according to findings published online Nov. 12 in the journal EClinical Medicine.
The researchers also found that Asian patients with COVID-19 had a higher risk of admission to intensive care units and related deaths, according to a news release from the U.K.'s National Institute for Health Research.
"Our findings suggest that the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Asian communities is mainly attributable to increased risk of infection in these communities," said senior author Dr. Manish Pareek, associate clinical professor in infectious diseases at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.
Pareek said there are many reasons for the higher rate of COVID-19 in ethnic minority groups. Among them: a greater likelihood of living in large households with multiple generations; lower economic status, which may lead to overcrowded living conditions; and holding jobs where working at home is not an option.
According to study co-author Dr. Shirley Sze, a specialist registrar in cardiology at the university, "The clear evidence of increased risk of infection amongst ethnic minority groups is of urgent public health importance. We must work to minimize exposure to the virus in these at-risk groups by facilitating their timely access to health care resources and target the social and structural disparities that contribute to health inequalities."
For more on groups at increased risk for COVID-19, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCE: National Institute for Health Research, news release, Nov. 12, 2020