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Project #41:
Factors associated with deaths due to COVID-19 versus other causes.

The aim of this study was to answer the question: to what extent is a person’s risk of dying from COVID-19 governed by their broader risk of death, based on their age, medical history, and other characteristics?

We used anonymised routinely collected GP records data from over 17 million people and information on deaths and causes of death from national death registrations. We looked at all deaths after February 2020 and analysed how individual characteristics like age, ethnicity, and medical history were linked to both COVID and non-COVID deaths.

We found that a person’s individual characteristics broadly affected their risk of COVID-19 death and non-COVID deaths in similar ways. But there were exceptions, most notably ethnicity: non-white groups had higher risks of dying from COVID-19 death, despite generally lower risks of dying from non-COVID causes.

We concluded that COVID-19 largely multiplies existing risks faced by patients, with some notable exceptions. Identifying the unique factors contributing to the higher COVID-19 mortality risk among non-white groups is a priority to inform efforts to reduce deaths from COVID-19.

  • Study leads: Krishnan Bhaskaran
  • Organisation: University of Oxford and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine