Friday 10 September 2021

Revisiting the issue of disparity in Covid-19 death rates by ethnicity


10 Sept 2021: UPDATE   In our article (in Significance) discussed in the blog post below there was a misinterpretation of the WHO definition of 'age-standardized mortality rate'. It appears that the WHO definition uses age proportions based on its own international  'standard population'. While this makes almost no difference to the analysis of the ethnicity data in the paper, it does make a difference in the hypothetical example of North and South Bayesland. Specifically it means that the age-standardized death rate for South Bayesland is about twice that of North Bayeland and not as stated in the paper.  Thanks to Fridjtof Thomas (University of Tenessee Health Science Centre) for pointing this out.  The main conclusions in the paper are unchanged.


Original post 16 April 2021

An article we first wrote in June 2020 has been published today in Significance magazine. It was triggered by an ONS report on Covid-19 deaths by ethnicity published in May 2020. For reasons possibly explained in our article, that ONS report is no longer available in its original form and the one now on the ONS website covering that period contains caveats and information that were not in the original report when we did our analysis. There was extensive national media coverage of the results of the original report, with every major newspaper and TV news channel in the UK focusing on the following highlighted conclusion:

"When taking into account age in the analysis, Black males are 4.2 times more likely to die from a Covid-19-related death and Black females are 4.3 times more likely than White ethnicity males and females". 
This information caused understandable fear and anguish among the Black community. But, when we analysed the report we found that there was insufficient data provided to support the conclusions and we also suspected that the ONS was basing its analysis on the 2011 census data which would skew the results (we wrote to the ONS asking them if this was the case, but did not receive a reply). Using publicly available data we showed that, while there was indeed a disparity, the death rate was likely to be about 2.1 times greater for Blacks, not 4.2 to 4.3 as claimed, and that when using the WHO defined measure to adjust for age there was little difference between Blacks and non-Blacks. We first published our analysis on ResearchGate in July 2020 and there was a widely read blog posting about it on 5 August 2020, which eventually led to the article's submission and publication in Significance today.

What is especially curious about this story is that at some point after we first published our analysis the ONS 'updated' their original report; in fact, even though the report is still dated 7 May 2020 they seem to have been continually updating the report, and the link which says Previous releases points to the National Archives where a search for previous releases draws a blank. In October we noticed that the report revised the difference in death rate between black and white males down from 4.2 to 2.9, and for females from 4.3 to 2.3 and this version specifically says it uses the 2011 census data. Looking at the report today it has been changed again. The original headline figures of 4.2 and 4.3 have been reinstated but critically the report now says:
After taking account of age and other socio-demographic characteristics and measures of self-reported health and disability at the 2011 Census, the risk of a COVID-19-related death for males and females of Black ethnicity reduced to 1.9 times more likely than those of White ethnicity.
There is also a later report dated 19 June with death statistics up to 15 May 2020 (rather than up to 10 April). This report says:
  • This analysis showed that for all ages the rate of deaths involving COVID-19 for Black males was 3.3 times greater than that for White males of the same age, while the rate for Black females was 2.4 times greater than for White females.
  • After adjusting for region, population density, socio-demographic and household characteristics, the raised risk of death involving COVID-19 for people of Black ethnic background of all ages together was 2.0 times greater for males and 1.4 times greater for females compared with those of White ethnic background.
What is clear is that the original figures, which were so widely seized on by the media, were exaggerated - as we originally said. And even the current figures are also likely to be exaggerated by failure to account for demographic changes since the 2011 census. Yet it is the figures in the original report that remain in the popular narrative and which have created an unjustified level of fear and anxiety among the Black community.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect the government is using TV subliminal messages to hypnotise people into obeying the COVID rules and to take the COVID jabs.  Would you like to investigate this?
    (Archived at  )

    elllis taylor on April 24, 2021 at 7:04 am

    A friend was appearing on TV and as the video recorder had packed up
    i decided to film her.
    This i did, and after watching the film, i played it back very slowly,
    i saw something flicker very quickly on the screen,
    so in playback i saw the word “Fear” in a box flash on the screen.
    I was puzzled by this so set about checking for other words
    and was shocked to see the words Hate Confusion Rape and Covid flash on screen.
    After much experimentation, i dont think this is accidental, i filmed the words
    Envy Fire and Kill.
    Nobody at the camera club believed me until i showed them.
    I had heard of subliminals, the advertsing industry has used them for years, but never thought the BBC would deliberately put them in its programmes, soaps were the worst, full of flashing images of homosexuality violence and short words of Hate, these can only be to leave people with negative feelings of depression despair and anger.
    It is well known that Disney cartoons promote Homosexual deviation to children, but why ?
    My son in law is quite up on these things and told me During Tony Blair’s war on the people in Iraq, images were flashed on British screens in Arabic, to quell any dissent by the huge Muslim communities now here in the UK.
    Aparently a lot of effort in subliminals went in to demonise Saddham Hussein Gadhaffi and Assad, to justify what our government did and are still doing.
    These quick flashes on screen are too quick for the conscious mind but go deep into the subconscious.
    Rothschild’s took over the BBC just prior to W W 2, it is vile and racist we in the UK have to pay a licence fee to have the BBC even if we never watch it, but people abroad get it for free, Just recently the BBC protected one of its interviewers, Philip Schofield who had been sending repeated sexual texts to schoolboys some aged just 13.
    Jewish teaching is that the black races are the lowest form of human life and for a jew like Philip Schofield to be paying black schoolboys to urinate on him, is beyond disgusting.
    The BBC also hid up the crimes of Jimmy Saville, Paul Gambaccini and a host of others.
    One BBC director made the unforgettable and outrageous racist comment
    that “The UK was hideously white”
    There have been many petitions to Parliament to disband the BBC
    for is hate protecting sex perversion and racism, i just cant figure why they would put so many flashes on screen about getting your covid jabs.
    Do yourself a favour, dump your TV.