Researchers led by the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Protection warned that although virus transmission to newborns was uncommon and most women had “good outcomes,” a high proportion of infected women of black or minority affiliation “needed urgent investigation and explanation.”
The latest study is based on data from the British Obstetric Surveillance System, a national system set up to study a range of rare pregnancy disorders.
The researchers said that of the 427 pregnant women admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 between March 1 and April 14, more than half were minority groups, including 25% who were Asian and 22% who were black.
Most women were in the late second or third trimester, 70% were obese or obese, 40% were 35 or older, and a third had previously existed,.
Twelve babies born to mothers in the study showed positive for coronavirus, six of which in the first 12 hours of their lives.
British Health Minister Matt Hancock warned that the existence of blacks or members of an ethnic minority is the “main” risk factor for Covid-19.
Addressing parliament last week, Hancock said “much remains to be done to understand the key drivers of these inequalities, the relationship between different risk factors and what we can do to close the gap.”
An analysis of public health in England found that the link between ethnicity and health was “complex and probably 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 are more likely to live in urban areas, overcrowded households, deprived areas and have jobs that put them at greater risk.
“People from the BAME group are also more likely than people of white British nationality to be born abroad, which means they may face additional barriers to accessing services created by, for example, cultural and linguistic differences,” it adds.
Groups “also have a higher risk of worse outcomes after becoming infected,” the agency said in a report.
CNN’s Zamira Rahim contributed to this report.