Public Health England publishes report on the disparities between those at risk from Covid-19

Vina Madhavji considers the long-awaited report investigating the higher number of deaths from Covid-19 amongst those from BAME communities.

Public Health England (‘PHE’) has today released its report ‘Disparities in the risk and outcomes from Covid-19’.

The report is described by its authors as a descriptive review of the surveillance data available to PHE.

The report describes the differences in the diagnosis and death rates of those with Covid-19 with reference to various factors such as deprivation, ethnicity, age and gender.

The report does not provide reasons for the disparities in propensity for those from ethnic groups; it is mostly descriptive in nature and acknowledges that more detailed investigations are required.

The key findings of the report are follows:-


There is a higher diagnosis rate and a higher death rate for those living in deprived areas.

“The mortality rates from COVID-19 in the most deprived areas were more than double the least deprived areas, for both males and females”.


Black and ethnic groups are most likely to be diagnosed with Covid-19 and to die from Covid-19.

“An analysis of survival among confirmed COVID-19 cases and using more detailed ethnic groups, shows that after accounting for the effect of sex, age, deprivation and region, people of Bangladeshi ethnicity had around twice the risk of death than people of White British ethnicity. People of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Other Asian, Caribbean and Other Black ethnicity had between 10 and 50% higher risk of death when compared to White British”.

The report states that the findings do not consider the effect of occupation, comorbidities or obesity, which are important factors linked to the risk of acquiring and or dying from Covid-19.

Socially Excluded Groups

Vulnerable groups such as the homeless and vulnerable migrants were at greater risk of Covid-19 and are “at the extreme end of the gradient of health inequalities. This is a consequence of being exposed to multiple, overlapping risk factors, such as facing barriers in access to services, stigma and discrimination”.

Age and Gender

Those aged 80 or older, when compared with those under 40, were seventy times more likely to die.

Working age males diagnosed with COVID-19 were twice as likely to die as females.

The full copy of the report can be found here on the website

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