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A Note on UK Covid19 death rates by religion: which groups are most at risk?

Norman Fenton
Published: 11 July 2020
Abstract: There has been great concern in the UK that people from the BAME (Black And Minority Ethnic) community have a far higher risk of dying from Covid19 than those of other ethnicities. However, the overall fatalities data from the Government's ONS (Office of National Statistics) most recent report on deaths by religion shows that Jews (very few of whom are classified as BAME) have a much higher risk than those of religions (Hindu, Sikh, Muslim) with predominantly BAME people. This apparently contradictory result is, according to the ONS statistical analysis, implicitly explained by age as the report claims that, when 'adjusted for age' Muslims have the highest fatality risk. However, the report fails to provide the raw data to support this. There are many factors other than just age that must be incorporated into any analysis of the observed data before making definitive conclusions about risk based on religion/ethnicity. We propose the need for a causal model for this. If we discount unknown genetic factors, then religion and ethnicity have NO impact at all on a person's Covid19 death risk once we know their age, underlying medical conditions, work/living conditions, and extent of social distancing.
Keywords: religion / model / Muslims / ons / fatalities / BAME / Covid19 death

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