Researchers led by the University of Oxford’s Department of Population Health have warned that although transmission of the virus to infants is uncommon and most women have “good results”, the high proportion of women with black or minority backgrounds “needs urgent investigation and interpretation.”
The latest study is based on data from the UK Obstetric Monitoring System, a national system established to study a range of rare pregnancy disorders.
Of the 427 pregnant women hospitalized with Covid-19 between March 1 and April 14, more than half were from minority groups, including 25% of Asian women and 22% of blacks, the researchers said.
Most of the women were in their late second or third trimesters, 70% of them were overweight or obese, 40% were thirty or more, and the third had previous conditions, the researchers said..
Twelve children born to mothers in the study demonstrated positive for coronavirus, six of them during the first 12 hours of their lives.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that being black or from an ethnic minority background is a “major” Covid 19 risk factor.
In a speech to parliament last week, Hancock said that there is “more work to be done to understand the main factors of these disparities, the relationships between different risk factors and what we can do to bridge the gap.”
England’s public health analysis found that the relationship between race and health is “complex and possibly the result of a combination of factors”.
First, the people of BAME [black and minority ethnic] “Communities are likely to be at increased risk of infection,” the government review said, noting that minorities in urban areas, in overcrowded families, in deprived areas, are more likely to have jobs and put them at higher risk.
“Members of BIM’s groups are also more likely than British-born white offspring to give birth abroad, which means they may encounter additional barriers in accessing services that have been created, for example, due to cultural and linguistic differences,” she added.
The agency’s report found that groups “are more likely to be at risk of bad outcomes once they become infected.”
Zamira Rahim of CNN contributed to this report.