A study involving millions of people in England – which the authors claim is the largest of its kind – found a striking disparity in a bevy of factors, that define the chances of a person’s survival with COVID-19.
The analysis, involving 17 million people, was published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, and it echoes the findings of other countries as well, which identified groups that are more vulnerable to succumb from the novel virus that broke out in Wuhan last year.
Among the most vulnerable groups, older men, people with underlying ailments like diabetes, asthma, obesity, compromised immunity, and ethnic and racial minorities like Black and South Asian were noted to be likely soft-zones for the virus, according to the study abstract. Furthermore, men stricken with the virus were more likely to die than women of the same age.
How was the study conducted?
To land on the conclusions, the researchers delved into a trove of data, comprising England’s 40% patients, collected by England’s National Health Service or NHS. The New York Times noted, from the records of 17,278,392 adults, 10,926 died of COVID-19 or COVID-19-related complications.
One researcher, who was a part of the study told The Times that their version of the study wanted to deal with everybody; referring to other similar studies conducted elsewhere or in England, most of which focused on patients in the hospital. “[…] we wanted to get a clear sense of the risks as an everyday person. Our starting pool is literally everybody,” Dr. Ben Goldacre of the University of Oxford said.
In one stark finding, the study concluded patients above the age of eighty were twenty-times more likely to die of COVID-19 than those in their fifties. Also, patients above the age of eighty were one hundred times more likely to pass out from COVID-19 than those below the forties. Dr. Goldacare said the scale of disparity was “jaw-dropping.”
While studies on a similar note have been published before, what this particular study emphasizes has rooted experts, most of them were not involved in the study. One expert, an epidemiologist at Drexel University, noted the ethnic disparity in the study was “compelling” – 11% of the people identified in the study as vulnerable were non-whites.
One expert noted, what this study mirror is roughly what the world is undergoing, and that is not necessarily surprising. But when seen in the light of such a ‘staggering’ amount of data, reflecting the same patterns, it “adds another layer to depicting who is at risk” during this pandemic, Dr. Connor said, The New York Times reports.
Earlier, studies have pointed out how pervasive social structures cast disproportionate burden on minority groups with the effects of coronavirus worst on them.
Some experts pointed out flaws in the study, regarding how the methodology was designed. However, experts still rooted in the fact that structural racism is intricately linked to disparity, be it in COIVD-19 or other health issues, The New York Times reports.