The highly respected think tank also found that the deaths of people of black Caribbean origin were 1.7 times higher than for white Britons.
NHS England figures released last week showed that 100,000 hospital deaths among British Black Caribbean people were three times higher than the majority white British population. Unlike the previous analysis, however, the IFS research, released on Friday, strips down the role of age, gender and geography and shows that it does not explain the disparities.
Ross Warwick, economist at IFS and co-author of the report, said: “When you factor in that most minority groups are relatively young overall, the number of deaths seems disproportionate in most groups ethnic minorities. It is unlikely that there is only one explanation here and different factors may be more important for different groups. For example, while black Africans are particularly likely to be employed in key worker positions that could put them at risk, older Bangladeshis appear vulnerable due to underlying health conditions. “
Taking into account differences in age, sex and geography, the IFS found that the deaths of black African Africans were 3.5 times higher than those of the British white population and that the deaths of British Pakistanis were 2 , 7 times higher.
Examining the possible reasons, he indicates that one third of all black Africans of working age hold key jobs, 50% more than the share of the British white population. In addition, it indicates that Pakistani, Indian and African black men are 90%, 150% and 310% respectively more likely to work in health care than British white men.
Two-thirds of British Bangladeshi men over the age of 60 have a long-term health condition that puts them at particular risk of infection, while the underlying health conditions are also particularly prevalent among the elderly. Pakistani or black Caribbean origin, according to the report.
Concerns are growing over the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority People (BAME) since figures released earlier this month showed that 35% of the nearly 2,000 Covid-19 patients in the units critical care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were non-white, compared to 14% of the population of England and Wales, according to the 2011 census. Fears were fueled by the fact that The first 10 doctors infected with the virus also died.
After the head of the British Medical Association told the Guardian that an investigation was needed to get to the bottom of the disparities, the government obliged a week later, although it has not yet revealed the mandate or the timetable .
Since then, new statistics showing disparities have emerged. The Guardian revealed last week that minority groups are up to 27% over-represented in the overall Covid-19 balance sheet. In addition, according to the Health Service Journal, 63% of the first 106 health and social service workers known to have died from the virus were black or Asian.
While cultural practices and genetics have been cited as possible explanations for the disparities, higher levels of social deprivation have also been cited as the cause and the IFS warns that certain ethnic groups seem more likely than others to suffer economically from isolation.
Professor Lucinda Platt of LSE and co-author of the report said: “There are striking differences in economic vulnerability between ethnic groups. Bangladeshi men are four times more likely than white British men to have a job in closed industries, Pakistani men being almost three times more likely; and household savings are below average among black Africans, blacks from the Caribbean and Bangladeshis. On the other hand, the Indians and the group of other whites, largely born abroad, do not seem to face disproportionate economic risks. “
Dr Zubaida Haque, deputy director of the Runnymede Trust, welcomed the report and said it was important to recognize that different ethnic groups have different socio-economic factors affecting them.
“This highlights the health and economic inequalities between ethnic minorities, which, according to Runnymede, are absolutely essential to understand why certain ethnic minority groups are most affected by Covid-19,” she said. “But I think we have to go further and say that it is not enough to just observe and recognize this. The government needs to think about what more it can do, in addition to the review it has commissioned, to mitigate the health and economic vulnerabilities to which ethnic minorities are much more exposed. “