Asian people are up to five times more likely to catch the coronavirus than white people, according to data from a government-run surveillance scheme.
An Office for National Statistics (ONS) report released today revealed seven out of 1,510 Brits identifying as Asian swabbed positive for Covid-19 — a rate of around 0.46 per cent. For comparison, the rate was 0.12 per cent for white people. The ONS concluded the risk was slightly higher than the percentage difference and that Asians were 4.8 times more likely to test positive.
No cases were diagnosed in any other ethnic groups in England between June 8 and August 2, which is when the data relates to. But the body claimed black Britons were twice as likely to be diagnosed, based on older figures.
Results of antibody tests — which tell if someone has had the disease in the past — showed a similar discrepancy between ethnicity, with just 4.8 per cent of white people testing positive for the substances. In comparison, the rate was around 10.8 per cent for Asians and 9.5 per cent for Black Britons.
Numerous reports have found black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in Britain face a higher risk of dying if they catch coronavirus than white people.
Experts can’t pinpoint exactly why this is the case, but it could be down to the fact ethnic minorities are more likely to be poor, use public transport more often and work in public-facing jobs – all three of which make them more prone to interacting with strangers and catching the disease.
Epidemiologists have previously told MailOnline that some communities which do not speak English as their first language were not following strict social distancing rules as stringently because public health messaging was not reaching them.
Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, and Gabriel Scally, professor of public health at the university of Bristol, said there had been a ‘breakdown in communication’ and that ‘language barriers were certainly an issue’.
Local health officials in locked-down parts of northern England have revealed that South Asian communities were being disproportionately infected. Eighty-five per cent of new cases in Blackburn with Darwen were among people of South Asian heritage. And language barriers were blamed for the surge in cases in Leicester.
Oldham, the UK’s current coronavirus hotspot, had to rollback lockdown restrictions last week after a huge spike among its Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities. Arooj Shah, deputy head of Oldham Council, said the groups account for up to two thirds of overall new cases in the Manchester town.
The findings come as a group of heavily-outnumbered police officers were forced to flee a street mob after failing to break up an illegal party celebrating Pakistan Independence Day in locked-down Manchester’s ‘Curry Mile’.
An Office for National Statistics (ONS) report released today revealed people who identified as Asian or British Asian were 4.8 times more likely to test positive for coronavirus than white people. The ONS data released today also revealed single people were more likely to test positive
People who didn’t work or who couldn’t work from home were almost more likely to test positive, as well as healthcare workers in patient-facing roles
It comes after a paper published by Public Health England in June found that BAME Brits had a noticeably higher risk of dying if they caught Covid-19.
The PHE report revealed Britons of Bangladeshi ethnicity have around twice the risk of white Brits of dying with the coronavirus.
And it showed black people, as well as those of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, or Caribbean backgrounds had between a 10 and 50 per cent higher risk of death. The analysis did not take into account higher rates of long-term health conditions among these people, which experts say probably account for some of the differences.
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.
Evidence compiled in the report also revealed that age is the single biggest risk factor that determines how likely people are to die with the virus – those over the age of 80 are 70 times more likely to be killed than under-40s.
And health conditions which appeared often on people’s death certificates were heart disease, diabetes – understood to be type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and dementia. More than one in five victims had diabetes, the data showed, which was a significantly higher rate than in people who died of other causes.
Poorer, more deprived people faced a higher risk of dying and men working in lower-paid jobs – such as security guards, bus drivers and construction workers – also had worse chances of survival if they contracted the virus.
Health chiefs launched a probe to investigate the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME Brits in April, prompted by a wave of evidence that showed white people were less likely to die from the disease.
Mr Hancock admitted that the report has ‘exposed huge disparities in the health of our nation’ and his counterpart in the Labour Party, Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, noted: ‘Covid thrives on inequalities’.
Doctors still don’t know exactly what is increasing non-white people’s risk of death, but PHE’s report adds to a growing body of evidence proving the link exists.
One paper presented to government advisers in SAGE suggested that higher-than-average rates of type 2 diabetes among black and south Asian people may be to blame – the condition is known to increase risk of Covid-19 death.
The highest diagnosis rates per 100,000 population were in black people (486 females and 649 males), the PHE review found. The lowest were in white people (220 in females and 224 in males).
Compared to previous years, death from all causes was almost four times higher than expected among black males, almost three times higher in Asian males and almost two times higher in white males.
Among females, deaths were almost three times higher in this period in black, mixed and other females, and 2.4 times higher in Asian females compared with 1.6 times in white females.
The highest death rates of confirmed cases per 100,000 population were among people in ‘other’ ethnic groups (234 females and 427 males) followed by people of black ethnic groups (119 females and 257 males) and Asian ethnic groups (78 females and 163 males).
In comparison, the death rates of confirmed cases in white people was 36 per 100,000 females and 70 per 100,000 males.
The ONS data released today — which takes into account swab test results of around 50,000 people — also revealed single people were more likely to test positive and that almost three-quarters of people struck down with the disease reported having no symptoms on the day they were swabbed.
The ONS found that only around 28 per cent of people testing positive for Covid-19 reported any evidence of symptoms at the time of their swab test or at either the preceding or subsequent tests.
The remaining 72 per cent of positive cases either did not report having any of the specific or general symptoms on the day of their positive swab test, preceding or subsequent swab tests or did not answer both questions, the ONS added.
It said that the findings, published on Tuesday, suggested that there was a ‘potentially large number’ of asymptomatic cases of the virus.
The ONS added: ‘Of those who had tested positive, only 28 per cent reported any evidence of symptoms at the time of their swab test or at either the preceding or subsequent swab test.
‘The remaining 72 per cent of positive cases either did not report having any of the specific or general symptoms on the day of their positive swab test, preceding swab test or subsequent swab test or did not answer both questions.
‘This suggests there is a potentially large number of asymptomatic cases, but it is important to note that symptoms were self-reported rather than professionally diagnosed.’
The symptoms respondents were asked to report were fever, muscle ache, fatigue, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, headache, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, loss of taste or loss of smell.
But the ONS stressed that its analysis was based on 165 people in its sample who had tested positive and any false positives, people without the disease who test positive, could have an effect on the results.
The new analysis, based on data from the ONS Coronavirus Infection Survey, also found that people in one-person households were estimated to be around twice as likely to test positive for Covid-19 on a swab test than those in two-person households.
The ONS said that there was no evidence to suggest that those living in larger households, containing three, four or more people, were at higher or lower risk of testing positive than those living in two-person households.
It said it will investigate why one-person households might be more likely to test positive and suggested it could be because these people were more likely to go and meet friends and family from other homes.
The ONS added: ‘There is some evidence to suggest that household size affects the percentage of individuals testing positive for Covid-19 on a swab test taken between June 8 and August 2 2020.
‘Those in one-person households were estimated to be around 2.1 times more likely to test positive for Covid-19 on a swab test than those in two-person households.
‘Recently, we have introduced new questions in the study about contacts, so we will investigate why those in one-person households might be more likely to test positive in a future article.’
The report also could not find any increased risk between those who had returned to work versus people who continue to work from home.
There was also no difference between those who were not working at all – such as students, retirees or employees who had been furloughed – and people currently in employment.
But people who worked in patient-facing roles in the NHS or care home staff were significantly more likely to catch the virus than people in other work.
Among nurses, doctors and social care workers, 12.6 per cent tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies from a blood test during the study period.
By comparison, the percentage of people reporting not working in these types of roles was almost three times lower, at 4.7 per cent.
Investigations have been launched into the deaths of hundreds of NHS and care workers who had Covid-19 to see if they were properly protected amid concerns they were left without PPE during the height of the crisis.
Ministers have asked medical examiners to review the deaths of all frontline health and social care staff who died while fighting the first wave of the epidemic in England and Wales.
The review, which was launched last month, will look to determine if the victims caught the infection as a result of their work and if they had access to personal protective equipment (PPE).
Many hospitals and care homes ran out of PPE at the height of the crisis and there were harrowing reports of staff having to make their own masks and use bin bags as aprons.
The Office for National Statistics estimates a total of 625 health and social care workers’ deaths across England and Wales were linked to coronavirus up to July 20 – one of the highest rates in the world.
The medical examiners, which were introduced in the NHS last year and are called in to independently review deaths, will state whether they ‘have reason to suspect the Covid-19 infection was acquired in employment,’ The Independent reported.
Employers including the NHS could face legal consequences if it emerges that deaths were caused by their negligence.
Police flee after failing to break up illegal street party celebrating Pakistan Independence Day in locked-down Manchester
By Dave Rudge and Jemma Carr for MailOnline
A group of heavily-outnumbered police officers fled a baying street mob after failing to break up an illegal party celebrating Pakistan Independence Day in locked-down Manchester.
Hundreds of revellers gathered in Manchester’s so-called ‘Curry Mile’ on Friday night, in breach of the city’s reinforced lockdown rules which restrict outdoor gatherings to up to six people with social distancing enforced.
Police were eventually able to clear crowds after shutting the road – but not before a mob of revellers surrounded a line of officers from all angles while hurling abuse and chanting ‘Pakistan’.
In the clip, several men crowded a female officer and shouted in her face before she was briefly separated from her colleagues.
Officers then closed ranks and forced the mob back, as the policewoman held her hands up calling for calm.
A group of heavily-outnumbered police officers fled a baying street mob (pictured) after failing to break up an illegal party celebrating Pakistan Independence Day in locked-down Manchester
The officers are surrounded on all sides by the mob – some of whom grin amid the chaos – who continue to jostle with each other.
As the sound of air horns blare in the background, chants of ‘Pakistan’ and what appears to be ‘England’ ring out from the group.
As the shouts continue, the police begin to withdraw with one officer grabbing the female police officer by the arm and pulling her away.
The crowd jeers as the police hound them off the road.
Police eventually broke up the gathering and no arrests were made.
Lockdown restrictions on social gatherings remain in Greater Manchester and some parts of northern England – despite measures being relaxed elsewhere in the country.
The extra rules were enforced on July 31 following a local spike in Covid-19 cases.
The officers are surrounded on all sides by the mob – some of whom grin amid the chaos – who continue to jostle with each other
Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton, also slammed the celebrations on Twitter
Greater Manchester Police said it had received 2,459 emergency calls on Friday, compared to 1,590 on the same day last year.
Detective Chief Inspector Carol Hobson said: ‘It is really disappointing to see behaviour of this type whilst we, as a community, are trying to combat coronavirus and keep each other safe.
‘Friday night is one of the busiest in terms of demand on the police service and incidents like this one pull invaluable resources away from other people who may need the police more desperately. These blatant breaches slow us down.’
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling added: ‘I can honestly say that in 30 years of policing I have never seen anything quite as outrageous as this behaviour.
‘Quite frankly, it is beyond comprehension and I am incredibly disappointed that people feel they can gather in this way – blatantly flouting the rules.’
Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton, also slammed the celebrations on Twitter.
He wrote: ‘Disappointed, frustrated, and angered with the appalling behaviour on Wilmslow Road last night.
‘Not only is antisocial behaviour of this kind deeply disrespectful to Rusholme residents, ignoring the Covid-19 regulations puts us all at risk.
‘To those who came from outside Manchester, knowing full well the Covid situation across our region, your choice to visit Rusholme last night increases the danger of spreading the virus further here and at your home.
‘You should be ashamed – you have put your loved ones at risk.’
Hundreds of revellers (left and right) were filmed dancing at an illegal lockdown party in Gorton, Manchester, on August 15
The street party came just one day before hundreds of revellers were caught partying inside a gazebo during an illegal lockdown party in Manchester where police officers were pelted with missiles.
Shocking footage caught on Snapchat shows the ravers flouting social distancing measures as they attended the illegal rave in Gorton on August 15.
Following the incident, Greater Manchester Police confirmed that a woman, who they believe to be the party ‘organiser’, was slammed with a £100 penalty fine.
During the footage, hundreds of people dance to the loud music with drinks in their hands and defy social distancing measures.
Officers arrived to the scene after receiving numerous complaints from residents on the street.
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling later told Manchester Evening News that the footage was now being reviewed by police.
He added that while officers did not break up the mass gathering by force due to being hit with missiles, they did stop others from joining the party and also issued an anti-social behaviour closure notice.