Research from Toronto Western Hospital neurologists, Dr. Joseph Chu, (L), and Dr. Robert Chen, found Chinese and South Asian Ontarians who contracted COVID-19 were more likely to suffer complications or require acute care services. (Photos: UHN)
It has been well noted throughout the pandemic that, though the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a risk for everyone, it affects some populations more severely than others – particularly those from minority ethnic groups.
New research published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology Open (CJCO) shows that, compared to the general population, Chinese and South Asian Ontarians who contracted COVID-19 were more likely to either suffer complications or require acute care services.
“These findings show that ethnicity continues to be an important determinant of mortality, cardiac and neurological outcomes, and healthcare use among patients with COVID-19,” says Dr. Joseph Chu, an associate staff neurologist at Toronto Western Hospital and the principal investigator of the study.
“Though more research is needed to better understand the factors contributing to these outcomes, this study informs how to better support these populations in future waves of the pandemic.”
Along with Toronto Western Hospital staff neurologist Dr. Robert Chen, the research group conducted a statistical analysis of data collected between the first three waves of the pandemic – January 2020 to June 2021.
The analysis revealed that patients identified as being of Chinese background had a much higher mortality, and were 44 per cent more likely to die of COVID-19 within 30 days of having contracted it. These patients were also more likely to be hospitalized or need to visit an Emergency Department, and had a greater risk of suffering cardiac and neurological complications as a result of the virus.
Though COVID-19 patients identified as being of South Asian background had slightly better outcomes for mortality and cardiac or neurological complications – possibly due to the overall younger age of the study group – these patients were also more likely to require hospitalization or need to visit an Emergency Department.
“Understanding how different populations are affected by the same virus is very important to overcoming this pandemic,” says Dr. Chen. “As we continue to refine strategies for vaccination distribution, education, and allocation of health resources, it is helpful to know who can benefit most from these resources particularly as the virus continues to evolve itself.”