The interaction of ethnicity and deprivation on COVID-19 mortality risk: A retrospective ecological study

Kausik Chaudhuri, Anindita Chakrabarti, Jose Lima, Joht Chandan, Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay

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Received date: 2nd September 2020

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) populations are at an increased risk of developing COVID-19 and consequentially more severe outcomes compared to White populations. The aim of this study was to quantify how much of the disproportionate disease burden can be attributed to deprivation. An ecological study was conducted using data derived from the Office for National Statistics data at a Local Authority District (LAD) level in England between 1st March-17th April 2020.  The primary analysis was to examine how age adjusted Covid-19 mortality depends on the interaction between deprivation and ethnicity using linear regression. The secondary analysis using spatial regression methods allowed for the quantification of the extent of LAD spillover effect of Covid-19 mortality.  We find that in LADs with the highest deprivation quartile, where there is a 1% increase in “Black-African (regression coefficient 2.86; 95% CI 1.08 – 4.64)”, “Black-Caribbean (9.66: 95% CI 5.25 – 14.06)” and “Bangladeshi (1.95: 95% CI 1.14 – 2.76)” communities there is a  significantly higher age-adjusted Covid-19 mortality compared to respective control populations.  In addition, the spatial regression results indicated positive significant correlation between the age-adjusted mortality in one LAD and the age-adjusted mortality in a neighbouring LAD.  This suggests that deprivation and its interaction with ethnicity play an important role in explaining COVID-19 mortality. The presence of spatial effects and spillover suggest family structures and social networks play an important role. Social interactions between people across neighbouring regions can also spread the disease. 

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

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