RCPCH responds to Public Health England's COVID-19 disparities review

President Professor Russell Viner responds to Public Health England's publication, COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes.

RCPCH President, Professor Russell Viner said: 

There are real and pressing fears about the impact of the pandemic for our members as paediatricians and as wider members of society. 

The review of age disparities confirms what we already know; children are less adversely affected by COVID-19. It is helpful to have confirmation that the rate of excess mortality among under 15s has been lower than expected.

It is concerning, but not surprising, to see that more people from the most deprived group of the population tested positive for COVID-19, and had poorer outcomes. This reflects the wider pattern of health inequalities across the UK, that we measured in our recent report, State of Child Health 2020.

The review shines a spotlight on the higher risk faced by those from the BAME communities, particularly those from a Bangladeshi background. This is very worrying, and more research is urgently needed to understand the reasons for this.

The NHS, informed by this research, will need to think about what further support and guidance it should introduce for BAME healthcare staff as for other groups.