Ethnic inequalities in positive SARS-CoV-2 tests, infection prognosis, COVID-19 hospitalisations, and deaths: analysis of two years of a record linked national cohort study in Scotland

Sarah Amele, Eliud Kibuchi*, Ronan McCabe, Anna Pearce, Paul Henery, Kirsten Hainey, Adeniyi Fagbamigbe, Amanj Kurdi, Colin McCowan, Colin R Simpson, Chris Dibben, Duncan Buchanan, Evangelia Demou, Fatima Almaghrabi, Gina Anghelescu, Harry Taylor, Holly Tibble, Igor Rudan, James Nazroo, Laia BécaresLuke Daines, Patricia Irizar, Sandra Jayacodi, Serena Pattaro, Aziz Sheikh, Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: This study aims to estimate ethnic inequalities in risk for positive SARS-CoV-2 tests, COVID-19 hospitalisations and deaths over time in Scotland.

METHODS: We conducted a population-based cohort study where the 2011 Scottish Census was linked to health records. We included all individuals≥16 years living in Scotland on 1 March 2020. The study period was from 1 March 2020 to 17 April 2022. Self-reported ethnic group was taken from the census and Cox proportional hazard models estimated HRs for positive SARS-CoV-2 tests, hospitalisations and deaths, adjusted for age, sex and health board. We also conducted separate analyses for each of the four waves of COVID-19 to assess changes in risk over time.

FINDINGS: Of the 4 358 339 individuals analysed, 1 093 234 positive SARS-CoV-2 tests, 37 437 hospitalisations and 14 158 deaths occurred. The risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation or death among ethnic minority groups was often higher for White Gypsy/Traveller (HR 2.21, 95% CI (1.61 to 3.06)) and Pakistani 2.09 (1.90 to 2.29) groups compared with the white Scottish group. The risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation or death following confirmed positive SARS-CoV-2 test was particularly higher for White Gypsy/Traveller 2.55 (1.81-3.58), Pakistani 1.75 (1.59-1.73) and African 1.61 (1.28-2.03) individuals relative to white Scottish individuals. However, the risk of COVID-19-related death following hospitalisation did not differ. The risk of COVID-19 outcomes for ethnic minority groups was higher in the first three waves compared with the fourth wave.

INTERPRETATION: Most ethnic minority groups were at increased risk of adverse COVID-19 outcomes in Scotland, especially White Gypsy/Traveller and Pakistani groups. Ethnic inequalities persisted following community infection but not following hospitalisation, suggesting differences in hospital treatment did not substantially contribute to ethnic inequalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-648
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Volume77
Issue number10
Early online date31 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • Ethnic inequalities

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