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Disparities in the impact of COVID-19 in Black and Minority Ethnic populations: review of the evidence and recommendations for action

The question of why more people from black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds appear to be at greater risk of hospitalisation and deaths with COVID-19 – and the need for urgent action in order to address this - has become one of the most urgent issues in this pandemic in the UK. Our review of the evidence suggests that the reasons why some BME groups appear to be at greater risk of dying with COVID-19 are complex with interplay between socio-economic disadvantage in BME populations, high prevalence of chronic diseases and the impact of long-standing racial inequalities being key explanations.

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