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Project #43:
Ethnic differences in SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19-related hospitalisation, intensive care unit admission, and death.


COVID-19 has disproportionately affected minority ethnic populations in the UK. Our aim was to quantify ethnic differences in SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 outcomes during the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in England.

GP data were linked to data from other sources on the outcomes of interest: SARS-CoV-2 testing and positive test results and COVID-19-related hospital admissions, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, and death. Self-reported ethnicity as captured on the GP record was used, grouped into five main categories (White, South Asian, Black, other, and mixed) and 16 subcategories.

Our findings show that minority ethnic groups have higher risks of COVID-19-related hospitalisation, ICU admission, and death even after accounting for other medical conditions individuals may be suffering from; in particular, the risks of COVID-19-related hospitalisation and death in wave 2 were increased for South Asian groups and reduced in all other ethnic minority groups relative to the White group.

The causes of the worse outcomes for minority ethnic groups is likely to involve many factors and require action across many fronts, including reducing structural inequalities, addressing barriers to equitable care, and improving uptake of testing and vaccination.


  • Study leads: Rohini Mathur
  • Organisation: University of Oxford and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine