Posted on April 20, 2020

UK Urged to Examine Impact of Coronavirus on Ethnic Minorities

Nan Spowart, The National, April 19, 2020

In the UK one study by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre showed that 35% of coronavirus patients out of those studied were non-white, nearly three times the non-white population in the UK.

British Medical Association chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul has called on the UK Government to examine why people from ethnic minority groups appear to be more at risk from the virus.

His call came after the first 10 doctors to die from the virus in the UK were from ethnic minorities.

He said this was “extremely disturbing and worrying” even after taking into account the high number of ethnic minority NHS workers, particularly in England and Wales, where they make up 44% of medics compared with 14% of the English and Welsh population.

In Chicago in the US, black people make up 30% of the population but so far account for 70% of deaths from Covid-19.

The death toll in the States has become so unequal that calls have been made for reparations to be given to ethnic communities.

Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said reparations should be made because a history of inequality had left black people, particularly, at higher risk of dying from the virus.

“Covid deaths are disproportionately spiking in black and brown communities,” she said.

“Why? Because the chronic toll of red-lining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc, are underlying health conditions.

“Inequality is a comorbidity.

Covid relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.”

She made the call after a dramatic map of New York City showed larger numbers of Covid-19 cases in poorer neighbourhoods which have large ethnic minorities than in wealthier ones.

Ocasio-Cortez hit out at both the city and federal governments for their response to the pandemic. She said that when the $2 trillion pandemic package was passed by Congress it did not include specific aid for disadvantaged communities.

“We’re essentially rewarding and offering preferential treatment to landowners and folks who are more wealthy and we’re not offering that same kind of relief to renters,” she said. “We’re kind of creating a class and race issue.”

Even before the pandemic took hold in the US, the Association of American Medical Colleges warned it would hit poorer communities harder.