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ONS finds Covid death rates are higher among non-Christians

21 May 2021


A woman walks past the national Covid memorial wall on London’s Southbank, in April

A woman walks past the national Covid memorial wall on London’s Southbank, in April

MORE people who identify as Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish have died with Covid-19 than those who identify as Christian or as no religion, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.

The ONS examined age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) (the death rate per 1000,000 persons of a population) among those aged between 30 and 100 who had died with Covid between 24 January 2020 and 28 February this year. It discovered that their religious affiliation (or lack thereof) by finding out how they had responded to the question about religion in the 2011 Census (their NHS numbers and dates of birth were used to locate their Census answers).

Among Muslim men, ASMRs of those with Covid were 966.9; among Hindu men, 605.2; among Sikh men, 573.6; and among Jewish men, 512.9. The ASMRs among Christian men were 401.9, and 336.6 among men who had stated on the Census that they were of “no religion”.

The ASMRs of Muslim women who had died with Covid were 519.1; for Hindu women, 346.5; for Sikh women, 345.7; for Jewish women, 295.4; and for Christian women, 249.6. For women of no religion, the ASMRs were 218.2.

The ONS’s analysis of its findings says that “differences in location, socio-demographic factors, and certain pre-existing health conditions between religious groups account for a large proportion (but not all) of the excess COVID-19 mortality risk observed in some religious groups. Residual unexplained risk may be attributable to factors that we have not been able to account for in the analysis.”

It continues: “For some religious groups, there is considerable overlap with ethnic background. This means that it is difficult to separate the observed association between COVID-19 mortality risk and religion from the risk associated with ethnic background.”

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