People from a South Asian background were twice as likely to die or be hospitalised during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland, research has found.
The difference grew even greater during the second wave of the virus, with South Asian people three times as likely as white people to die or be hospitalised.
A report from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (Spice) highlighted that existing health inequalities were made worse by the pandemic.
During the first wave, those with learning disabilities were around twice as likely to test positive for Covid-19, twice as likely to be hospitalised, and around three times more likely to die from the virus.
The report also noted the well-documented link between coronavirus rates and deprivation.
The death rate from Covid-19 in the most deprived fifth of areas was double the rate in the least deprived fifth.
Spice’s report said: “People living in deprived areas are more likely to have poor health to start with, so are more likely to suffer greater health harms from the disease.
“They are less likely to be able to work from home and so are more exposed to the disease, and are more likely to live in poor quality housing which limits their ability to self-isolate effectively.”
Discussing the differences for ethnic minorities, it said: “Language and cultural barriers may prevent access to some health services.
“Some ethnic minority groups are more likely to live in multi-generational housing, which increases the risk of transmission to older relatives, and could make self-isolation difficult.
“Ethnic minorities are over-represented in healthcare and other key worker industries, which may increase exposure.
“Some ethnic minority groups such as Gypsy/Roma/Travellers, asylum seekers and refugees are likely to experience barriers to engaging with healthcare services.”
The report said there was not currently any data on the ethnicity of those receiving coronavirus vaccines in Scotland.
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