May 13, 2021 Faith Matters

Hindus and Muslim men at greater risk of dying with Covid in pandemic

Hindus and Muslim men have had a disproportionately high risk of dying with coronavirus throughout the pandemic compared with Christians, figures suggest.

After adjusting for age, location, socio-demographic factors and certain pre-existing health conditions, Hindus and Muslim men were still more likely to die with Covid-19, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The ONS looked at mortality rates among religious groups between January 2020 and February 2021 and compared differences between both waves of the pandemic, adjusting these for age and other factors.

It defined the second wave as deaths occurring from September 12 2020 onwards, but noted that this analysis is provisional as it only covers up to February 28 2021.

It found that Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Jewish people all had an increased Covid-19 mortality rate compared with Christians across the whole period when adjusting for age.

People who identified as having no religion were 20% less likely to die than the Christian group.

When taking into account location, measures of disadvantage, occupation and living arrangements, and pre-pandemic health status, rates for Jewish and Sikh women were similar to those for Christian women.

But rates for Muslims, Hindus, and Jewish and Sikh men remained significantly higher.

Muslim men were 70% more likely to die with Covid-19 than Christian men, the ONS analysis found.

Muslim women had a 30% greater risk of dying with coronavirus, while for Hindu men it was 30% and for Hindu women it was 20%.

Jewish men had a 20% greater risk and Sikh men a 10% greater risk.

For Jewish and Buddhist men, the excess risk was only observed in the first wave.

Excess risk for Sikhs and Muslim women was only observed in the second wave.

The ONS said the factors it adjusted for account for a large proportion, but not all, of the additional risk.

The residual unexplained risk may be due to factors it did not consider, such as some pre-existing health conditions.

For some religious groups there is considerable overlap with ethnic background, meaning it is difficult to separate any association between risk and religion from risk and ethnicity.

Credit: PA News