MEN are twice as likely to die in hospital from coronavirus as women, a major new study shows.

The study, by the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), is the largest ever report on Covid-19 risks during the pandemic so far.

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They analysed NHS data from 17.4million people between February 1 and April 25, including 5,707 deaths involving Covid-19.

Men were 1.99 times more likely to die in hospital of Covid-19 as women, the study showed.

It also found black people were 1.7 times more likely to die from coronavirus than white people and Asian people 1.6 times more likely to die — but doctors are struggling to explain why.

People living in deprived areas were also more at risk than this in richer parts of the UK, the research found.

It comes as Britain's  virus death toll rose to more than 30,615 yesterday, after 539 more deaths reported in the past 24 hours.


Professor Liam Smeeth, who co-led the research, said: “We are seeing much higher rates of death among black and ethnic minority groups. We are keen to find out what is driving this so we know what to do about it.

“One possibility is that they have much higher rates of underlying conditions like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure — but we found this is only a very small part of the explanation.

“While they are factors, they explain very little."

A separate study for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also showed black and Asian people were more at risk.

The higher rate emerged in ONS research after factors such as poverty and lifestyle were removed.


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Obese people with a body mass index (BMI) over 40 were three times more likely to die from Covid-19, the Oxford and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine study also found.

Those with a BMI of between 30 and 35 are 1.3 times more likely to die, while a BMI of 35 to 40 makes you 1.6 times more vulnerable.

Around a third of Brits are obese, with a BMI above 30 and the latest figures show the UK has one of the highest death rates per head of population across Europe – after Ireland and Andorra.

Prof Smeeth said: “We found a very marked increase in death rates among obese people.

We found a very marked increase in death rates among obese people

“Those with a body mass index over 40 are three times more likely to die of Covid-19.

“There seems to be something around obesity that is driving this increase, even taking into account other conditions that go along with obesity such a diabetes.”

His co-leader Prof Ben Goldacre added: “Obesity wasn’t previously well identified as a major risk factor.

"Hopefully our findings will inform future decisions about who is included in the ‘at risk’ group.

“These are very substantial risks. There may have to be a difference when managing emergence from lockdown, thinking about the different risks that different groups of people face.”

Experts last week advised the government that keeping certain at-risk groups in lockdown while everyone else is “released” would dramatically reduce the risk of a second outbreak of coronavirus.

The new findings from Oxford Uni come after a similar study by researchers at Glasgow University found being obese doubles your risk of ending up in hospital with coronavirus.

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