A new risk analysis tool to determine those more susceptible of fatal exposure to COVID-19 has proposed to shield and fast-track ethnic minorities as well as low-income individuals.
Age should not be the sole determining factor
The more sophisticated modelling tool has been commissioned by the Chief Medical Officer for England, Chris Whitty, and takes into account a multitude of health and social conditions conducive to increasing people's likelihood of death by COVID-19 from obesity to severe mental health issues and even homelessness.
Dr. Halima Begum, chief executive for the race equality research institute, the Runnymede Trust, said:
Since March we have been pleading with Matt Hancock for race and deprivation to be considered as risk factors, and safeguarding measures to be implemented as a result.
The new model analysed ways in which ethnicity and postcode–which gives a measures of economic deprivation–were directly linked to higher chances of death when exposed to the virus.
A trifecta of risk factors to consider
When looking at the data collected since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been substantially higher death rates in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) patients as well those coming from less privileged economic backgrounds. Body mass index was also determined to be an important factor to consider as obesity has been linked to increasing the risk of severe illness.
Dr. Begum explained that:
By pulling together a trifecta of risk factors–ethnicity, social deprivation and body mass index–we offer a greatly expanded group of vulnerable people far higher levels of protection.
The current priority groups for the COVID-19 jab have, according to Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, the chair of the British Medical Association council, only been protecting a specific part of society. He believes that the BMA had:
long highlighted the fact that people from an ethnic minority background, especially with underlying conditions, are at high risk of death from Covid-19 and that those from poorer areas are also twice as likely to die from this terrible disease.