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Risk Factors for Covid-19

The largest study to date, analysing NHS health data from 17.4 million UK adults between 1 February 2020 and 25 April 2020, has given the strongest evidence on risk factors associated with COVID-19 death.

Academics at the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), working on behalf of NHS England and in partnership with NHSX, have analysed the pseudonymised health data of over 17.4 million UK adults to discover the key factors associated with death from COVID-19 .

This is the largest study on COVID-19 conducted by any country to date, and therefore gives the strongest evidence on risk factors associated with COVID-19 death.

Compared to white people, people of Asian and Black ethnic origin were found to be at a higher risk of death. Previously, commentators and researchers have reasonably speculated that this might be due to higher prevalence of medical problems such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes among BME communities, or higher deprivation. The findings, based on detailed data, show that this only accounts for a small part of the excess risk. Consequently, further work must be done to fully understand why BME people are at such increased risk of death.

Additionally, people from deprived social backgrounds were also found to be at a higher risk of death, which also could not be explained by other risk factors.

Results confirmed that men are at increased risk from COVID-19 death, as well as people of older ages and those with uncontrolled diabetes. People with more severe asthma were also found to be at increased risk of death from COVID-19.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website