New Brunswick Tribune

Following the COVID Toll, the UK will examine racial bias in medical devices

Key takeaways:

  • The pandemic, according to Sajid Javid, has shown health inequities based on race and gender.
  • After Russia, the United Kingdom has the largest coronavirus deaths in Europe, with about 143,000 deaths.

The British government is examining whether built-in racial bias in some medical devices contributed to a disproportionate number of Black and Asian persons becoming ill and dying from COVID-19.

Sajid Javid, the UK’s health secretary, said that the epidemic had exposed health disparities based on race and gender. 

According to him, people from Black and ethnic minority origins accounted for a third of intensive care admissions in Britain during the peak of the pandemic, more than double their percentage of the population.

Also read: N.B new covid cases number today 67 and 81 recovered

Even after factors like occupation and underlying health conditions were taken into account, the British statistics office found that in the first year of the pandemic, from March 2021 to March 2022, Black and South Asian people in the UK had higher death rates than white people.

According to Javid, research has shown that pulse oximeters, which measure blood oxygen levels through the skin, operate less effectively on darker skin. He referred to it as a “global systemic” problem.

“Now, I’m not saying this was done on purpose by anyone; I believe it’s more of a systemic issue with medical gadgets, and it might go even farther with medical textbooks,” Javid told Sky News.

“The notion that a bias — even an unintended one — could lead to a lower health outcome is completely unacceptable,” he wrote in the Sunday Times.

He expressed his desire to collaborate with his American counterpart, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, and authorities from other countries to eliminate bias in the health system.

He said a review in the United Kingdom, which would look into gender prejudice, will report its findings by the end of January.

UK to Probe Racial Bias in Medical Devices After COVID Toll.

After Russia, the United Kingdom has recorded almost 143,000 coronavirus deaths, the highest total in Europe.

COVID-19 instances are increasing only in Europe, and many nations are restoring restrictions to combat the outbreak. For example, on Monday, Austria will go into a statewide lockdown. 

At the same time, violent protests occurred in the Netherlands last weekend when the government announced it would “restrict entry to specific locations for unvaccinated people.”

However, in the United Kingdom, cases are essentially flat, and deaths and hospitalizations are gradually declining. 

As a result, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that he didn’t think it was necessary to switch to the government’s winter “Plan B,” which would force people to wear masks indoors and advise them to work from home.

According to some scientists, Britain had greater infection rates than its neighbours for several months, putting the country in a stronger position now.

The United Kingdom had been dealing with the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus for longer than its European neighbours, according to Linda Bauld, a professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, and “because we’ve had high infections in the past, we’ve probably a bit more natural immunity in the population.” Booster vaccine doses are now being given to everyone over the age of 40 in the United Kingdom.

John Bell, an Oxford University professor of medicine, said he did not believe the United Kingdom would suffer another Christmas lockdown like it did last year.

He told Times Radio, “My advice is to order the turkey because everything will be OK.” But, he added, “if you’re planning a skiing holiday in Austria, things may not go so well.

Source: U.S. News

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