• Bloomberg

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About a third of patients in U.K. hospitals with COVID-19 died from the disease, according to the findings of a study of more than 16,000 people with the virus.

The research, which hasn’t been peer-reviewed and has yet to appear in a scientific journal, is an early insight into the deadliness of the virus in the U.K., which has one of the highest tolls from the pandemic in Europe.

Led by researchers from Edinburgh University, Liverpool University and Imperial College London, the study pulled information from 166 hospitals in England, Wales and Scotland about COVID-19 patients. At the end of the research period, about a third of the patients had died, almost half had been discharged and 17 percent were still receiving care at the hospital.

The researchers found higher mortality rates among men and obese people. They also found that mortality was high in patients in general wards who were not admitted to intensive care units. The study encapsulates about 15 percent of all people who have tested positive in the country and the median age of the patients was 72.

Separate analysis from Imperial College — which has also not yet been peer-reviewed — showed that ethnic minority groups may be more at risk of dying from the disease in the hospital.

Looking at the characteristics and outcomes of 520 patients hospitalized for the disease in London, researchers found that people of black ethnicity could be experiencing increased odds of mortality after contracting the virus.

The report “adds to the weight of data arguing for an urgent review and national level data analysis, in order to quickly confirm this finding and offer protection to those who may be most vulnerable,” said Riyaz Patel, associate professor of cardiology at University College London.

Black patients coming to the hospital with symptoms “are younger with fewer other medical conditions than white patients,” he said. “It also suggests, a possible trend towards higher risk of dying from the illness again compared to white patients, although this is not statistically significant.”

Patients who were male, of older age and had existing health issues upon their admission to the hospital were also at greater risk, according to the research. The median age was 67. The government announced a review earlier this month to look at why minority ethnicities are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic.