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Original research
Risk of COVID-19 hospital admission and COVID-19 mortality during the first COVID-19 wave with a special emphasis on ethnic minorities: an observational study of a single, deprived, multiethnic UK health economy
  1. Baldev M Singh1,2,
  2. James Bateman1,
  3. Ananth Viswanath1,
  4. Vijay Klaire1,
  5. Sultan Mahmud1,3,
  6. Alan Nevill4,
  7. Simon J Dunmore2
  1. 1New Cross Hospital, Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Trust, Wolverhampton, UK
  2. 2School of Medicine & Clinical Practice, Faculty of Science & Engineering, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK
  3. 3Faculty of Health, Education & Life Sciences, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK
  4. 4Faculty of Education Health & Wellbeing, Walsall Campus, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Baldev M Singh; baldev.singh{at}


Objectives The objective of this study was to describe variations in COVID-19 outcomes in relation to local risks within a well-defined but diverse single-city area.

Design Observational study of COVID-19 outcomes using quality-assured integrated data from a single UK hospital contextualised to its feeder population and associated factors (comorbidities, ethnicity, age, deprivation).

Setting/participants Single-city hospital with a feeder population of 228 632 adults in Wolverhampton.

Main outcome measures Hospital admissions (defined as COVID-19 admissions (CA) or non-COVID-19 admissions (NCA)) and mortality (defined as COVID-19 deaths or non-COVID-19 deaths).

Results Of the 5558 patients admitted, 686 died (556 in hospital); 930 were CA, of which 270 were hospital COVID-19 deaths, 47 non-COVID-19 deaths and 36 deaths after discharge; of the 4628 NCA, there were 239 in-hospital deaths (2 COVID-19) and 94 deaths after discharge. Of the 223 074 adults not admitted, 407 died. Age, gender, multimorbidity and black ethnicity (OR 2.1 (95% CI 1.5 to 3.2), p<0.001, compared with white ethnicity, absolute excess risk of <1/1000) were associated with CA and mortality. The South Asian cohort had lower CA and NCA, lower mortality compared with the white group (CA, 0.5 (0.3 to 0.8), p<0.01; NCA, 0.4 (0.3 to 0.6), p<0.001) and community deaths (0.5 (0.3 to 0.7), p<0.001). Despite many common risk factors for CA and NCA, ethnic groups had different admission rates and within-group differing association of risk factors. Deprivation impacted only the white ethnicity, in the oldest age bracket and in a lesser (not most) deprived quintile.

Conclusions Wolverhampton’s results, reflecting high ethnic diversity and deprivation, are similar to other studies of black ethnicity, age and comorbidity risk in COVID-19 but strikingly different in South Asians and for deprivation. Sequentially considering population and then hospital-based NCA and CA outcomes, we present a complete single health economy picture. Risk factors may differ within ethnic groups; our data may be more representative of communities with high Black, Asian and minority ethnic populations, highlighting the need for locally focused public health strategies. We emphasise the need for a more comprehensible and nuanced conveyance of risk.

  • epidemiology
  • public health
  • COVID-19

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors BMS was accountable senior author; BMS, JB, SJD and AV helped with data analysis and manuscript writing; SJD, BMS and JB helped with preparation for submission; AV, BMS and VK ensured database quality and helped with data integration, and data quality and integration. SM helped with reading drafts as lay expert. AN provided statistical advice. All authors contributed intellectual content during the drafting and revision of the work and approved the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This was not sought nor deemed necessary as this work represents a continuous quality improvement programme of the informatics component of service changes required between various local National Health Service (NHS) organisations for integrated working stipulated during the COVID-19 emergency. Data governance was in line with Trust policy and with the COVID-19 emergency directive of NHS England.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Anonymised data will be shared on reasonable request to the corresponding author Prof B M Singh (

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