Ethnicity, pre-existing comorbidities, and outcomes of hospitalised patients with COVID-19 [version 1; peer review: 1 not approved]

Publication authors

Gillian Santorelli; Michael McCooe; Trevor Sheldon; John Wright; Tom Lawton.


Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in thousands of deaths in the UK. Those with existing comorbidities and minority ethnic groups have been found to be at increased risk of mortality. We wished to determine if there were any differences in intensive care unit (ICU) admission and 30-day hospital mortality in a city with high levels of deprivation and a large community of people of South Asian heritage.

Methods: Detailed information on 622 COVID-19-positive inpatients in Bradford and Calderdale between February-August 2020 were extracted from Electronic Health Records. Logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards models were used to explore the relationship between ethnicity with admission to ICU and 30-day mortality, respectively accounting for the effect of demographic and clinical confounders.

Results: The sample consisted of 408 (70%) White, 142 (24%) South Asian and 32 (6%) other minority ethnic patients. Ethnic minority patients were younger, more likely to live in deprived areas, and be overweight/obese, have type 2 diabetes, hypertension and asthma compared to white patients, but were less likely to have cancer (South Asian patients only) and COPD. Male and obese patients were more likely to be admitted to ICU, and patients of South Asian ethnicity, older age, and those with cancer were less likely. Being male, older age, deprivation, obesity, and cancer were associated with 30-day mortality. The risk of death in South Asian patients was the same as in white patients HR 1.03 (0.58, 1.82).

Conclusions: Despite South Asian patients being less likely to be admitted to ICU and having a higher prevalence of diabetes and obesity, there was no difference in the risk of death compared to white patients. This contrasts with other findings and highlights the value of studies of communities which may have different ethnic, deprivation and clinical risk profiles.