White people have driven spiralling cases of Covid-19 cases over the past fortnight, data reveals

White people are fuelling England’s latest surge in coronavirus infections, official data has shown. 

Cases among white people – who make up 80 per cent of the population – have risen by more than two-and-a-half times in the last fortnight.

A Public Health England report found cases soared from 37.3 per 100,000 people to 97 in the two weeks up to October 4. It marks the biggest increase among any ethnic group in the country.  

Rates of coronavirus are still higher in minority ethnic groups, but they account for a far smaller portion of the public. 

For example, the virus is still more prevalent among Pakistanis, who are recording 254.2 infections each week per 100,000 people, up 20 per cent in the same time period.

Among Indian people the rate rose by 62 per cent, from 93.1 to 150.9 per 100,000, and for other Asian people it increased by 63 per cent, from 69.9 to 113.9 per 100,000.

Black people’s rate rose 72 per cent, from 41 to 70.7 per 100,000. And in mixed/multi-ethnic groups there was a 250 per cent spike from 45.1 to 77.6 per 100,000. 

White people are fuelling England’s latest surge in coronavirus infections, official data has shown. Cases of the disease among whites have risen by more than two-and-a-half times in the last fortnight

A Public Health England report found cases soared from 37.3 per 100,000 people to 97 in the two weeks up to October 4. It marks the biggest increase among any ethnic group in the country

A Public Health England report found cases soared from 37.3 per 100,000 people to 97 in the two weeks up to October 4. It marks the biggest increase among any ethnic group in the country

Asians ‘most likely to die’ from coronavirus in hospital, study says 

Asian people are the most likely to die from coronavirus after they have been admitted to hospital, a study suggests.

It found the group doesn’t have a higher risk of hospitalisation but, once in hospital, the King’s College London scientists suggested they had a higher risk of death. 

The study also found black people were three times more likely to be admitted to hospital than white people if they catch the virus. But their survival rates were no different to that of white people. 

The study was carried out on 1,827 adults that came to King’s hospital with coronavirus between March and the start of June.

Of these 48 per cent were White, 34 per cent were Black, and 5.6 per cent were Asian.

Lead author Professor Ajay Shah said their finding suggests there is a possible ‘biological’ factor in how people respond to coronavirus.

‘For Black patients, the issue may be how to prevent mild infections progressing whereas for Asian patients it may be how to treat life-threatening complications,’ he said.  

There are 53million white people in the UK, according to the latest census, or 80 per cent of the population. There are also 4.5million Asian people, and 2.3million Black people.  

Experts said the jump in infections in the group may show the virus is moving away from city centres where the population tends to be more diverse and into more rural areas. 

This, they say, has probably been fuelled by teenagers going off to university in different towns and cities.

It comes as a study today found Asian people are more likely to die from Covid-19 after being hospitalised with the virus compared to any other ethnic group. 

King’s College London researchers found Asian people had a 70 per cent increased risk of falling victim to the disease if they had been admitted to hospital, compared to other races.

They said the risk remained even after deprivation and underlying health conditions had been accounted for. 

But they noted that their study, which also found black people had no was small – it only looked at 1,827 patients in hospital, of which only 5.6 per cent were Asian.

The study also found black people were three times more likely to be admitted to hospital than white people if they catch the virus. But their survival rates were no different to that of white people.

Professor Ajay Shah, an NHS cardiologist at King’s College Hospital, said: ‘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.

‘It strongly suggests that other factors, possibly biological, are important and that we may need different treatment strategies 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.’

Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, said: ‘The evidence is now clear that people from Black and minority ethnic groups are more severely affected by Covid-19.

‘This NIHR-supported research shows how different groups are affected, providing important information to help healthcare professionals offer the best possible treatment to minority ethnic patients.’

Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, of the British Heart Foundation said: ‘This study provides further evidence that Covid-19 disproportionally affects those whose ethnic background is a minority where they live, as has been seen across the world. 

Data from PHE shows how Covid-19 infection rates are rising in different regions among different ethnicities

Data from PHE shows how Covid-19 infection rates are rising in different regions among different ethnicities

WHY ARE SO MANY CORONAVIRUS VICTIMS FROM BAME BACKGROUNDS?

Experts say there is unlikely to be one sole reason as to why ethnic minorities are more likely to become severely ill or die from the virus.

People from ethnic minority backgrounds make up a large amount of the NHS workforce.

This exposes them to bigger loads of the virus more often because they come into face-to-face contact with gravely ill patients.

Having a high viral load – the number of particles of the virus someone is first infected with – gives the bug a ‘jump start’, scientists say.

Members of ethnic minority communities are twice as likely to be affected by poverty, and are often hit the hardest by chronic diseases.

Those living in poverty smoke and drink alcohol more and are more likely to be obese – all of which increase the likelihood of chronic health conditions.

Patients with pre-existing health troubles struggle to fight off COVID-19 before it causes deadly complications such as pneumonia.

People from poorer backgrounds are also more likely to use public transport more often and live in crowded houses – driving up their chance of catching and spreading the virus.

They could also be more at risk because of their professions, according to Shaomeng Jia, an economics professor at Alabama State University’s College of Business Administration.

Those working in retail, in supermarkets and in construction – who cannot work from home – were still mingling and risking infection even when the outbreak peaked, she said.

‘Why coronavirus hits people with an ethnic minority background harder, and how to mitigate this, has been complex to address.’

She added: ‘People from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds more often have heart and circulatory risk factors including high blood pressure and diabetes, and are more exposed to socioeconomic disadvantage, but this study indicates the worse effects of Covid-19 are present even after these are accounted for. 

‘Research is now needed to assess how other structural and behavioural factors may contribute, including occupation, access to health messaging and health care, and differences in the patient journey once people reach hospital. As we see Covid-19 cases rise again in the UK, we must address these disparities with urgency.’

A possible ‘biological’ explanation for the differences was suggested by the scientists.

But a separate study published at the end of last month said there was no genetic link between deaths from the virus and ethnicity.

There were no differences in seven genes associated with viral entry of SARS-CoV-2 between ethnic groups, the Japanese academics revealed. 

Experts believe BAME communities have been hit harder by Covid-19 because ethnic minorities are more likely to be poorer and therefore in worse health, and more likely to work in public-facing jobs — leaving them vulnerable to catching the illness. 

Public Health England, which also found a higher risk of death for BAME people in a report published in June, warned historic racism and the hostility towards immigrants was partly to blame.  

It comes as coronavirus cases surge upwards in England, with as many as 45,000 people thought to be catching the virus every day.

One Government-led study estimated the infection rate could be almost half of what it was during the darkest days of the crisis in March and April, when scientists believe there were more than 100,000 new cases per day.

Another report, by the Office for National Statistics, estimates 17,400 people have contracted the disease each day in England alone in the week ending October 1, which was double their prediction last week.

And statistics published yesterday by Public Health England show all but three areas of the country have had infection rates rising since last week. 

Of 149 local authorities, only Luton, Wolverhampton and Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly recorded a fall in cases.

The second wave is hitting the North of England far harder than the South at present,  with experts blaming the divide on deprivation, levels of immunity and even the weather.

Knowsley, near Liverpool, is at the epicentre of the current outbreak, recording 556.9 cases per 100,000 on October 9.

It was followed by Manchester, where cases have surged upwards to 532.3 per 100,000. 

Boris Johnson is expected to announce sweeping new restrictions on Monday in a desperate attempt to get ahead of the virus. 

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