Articles

Beyond statistics: the impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2020 by kmflett

Beyond statistics: the impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities

All deaths matter and it is right that those who sadly die from COVID-19 are recorded and statistics kept.

The ONS published on 16th October updated statistics on the impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities which underlines the point, occasionally mentioned in the media, that death rates are considerably higher.

I have extracted a couple of paragraphs from the reports Executive summary and a link to the full report below:

In England and Wales, males of Black African ethnic background had the highest rate of death involving COVID-19, 2.7 times higher than males of White ethnic background; females of Black Caribbean ethnic background had the highest rate, 2.0 times higher than females of White ethnic background.

“Our statistical modelling shows that a large proportion of the difference in the risk of COVID-19 mortality between ethnic groups can be explained by demographic, geographical and socioeconomic factors, such as where you live or the occupation you’re in. It also found that although specific pre-existing conditions place people at greater risk of COVID-19 mortality generally, it does not explain the remaining ethnic background differences in mortality.”

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/updatingethniccontrastsindeathsinvolvingthecoronaviruscovid19englandandwales/deathsoccurring2marchto28july2020#main-points

As the report notes the reasons for the higher death rates are not primarily related to existing health conditions but rather to ‘demographic, geographical and socioeconomic’ factors.

That is far as statistics can take us but there are real people here, with friends and families and tragedies when they fall ill and die.

Our understanding of that is poor to non-existent. Who after all is inquiring?

One example comes from Tottenham in North London where the Borough of Haringey’s basketball coach Hesketh Benoit reports on the deaths from COVID-19 of 37 people he knew. All but one were from ethnic minorities.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/coronavirus-black-people-disproportionate-32-black-friends-died-hesketh-benoit-bame_uk_5f64a681c5b6b9795b0f3671

As infections rise again this issue cannot be ignored again and nor can the people and communities where the impact is.

A problem is that as a study by the GMB union has shown even now 25% of BAME workers do not have proper PPE. The history and lessons from earlier in the year are being ignored:

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