I am truly shocked and, frankly, scared, of the figures coming out about the inextricable link between coronavirus deaths and the BAME community. My parents are both BAME NHS workers, one on the frontlines, so this reality of this risk is very close to home (literally). I don’t feel I have the expertise to write about it, so I have linked a bunch of articles below that lay bare just how extreme this crisis is for the BAME community.
To list just a few statistics (from the articles listed below):
- ONS analysis shows that black men are 4.2 times more likely to die from coronavirus than their white counterparts.
- They found the risk of death from the virus for black African groups was 3.24 times higher than the general population. In people of Pakistani background it was 3.29 times higher, 2.41 times higher for Bangladeshi, black Caribbean was 2.21 times higher, and Indian was 1.7 times higher.
- 63% of the first 106 health and social care staff known to have died from the virus were black or Asian.
- 55% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with coronavirus from 1 March to 14 April were from a BAME background
And when you look at why?
- A third of all working-age Black Africans are employed in key worker roles, 50% more than the share of the White British population.
- Pakistani, Indian and Black African men are respectively 90%, 150% and 310% more likely to work in healthcare than white British men.
- One in five of NHS staff in England are from a BAME background, as are about half of all doctors in London
- There are over 4000 comments from BAME NHS staff in an ITV survey demonstrating how POCs are actively being discriminated against, deployed more readily, and taken less seriously when complaining about symptoms.
The figures speak for themselves here, as do the countless articles that show just how shocking these disparities really are. Another example of how decades of societal, structural, and governmental racism, are killing members of our community. Even, it seems, when they are doing the jobs that are keeping this country alive through this horrific pandemic.
I have tried to find articles written by BAME people but, unsurprisingly, they are harder to find (even when about BAME issues as always). Please read at least some of the following:
This BHF article goes into detail about the larger over view, and the socioeconomic factors, of why this has been so harmful to the BAME community.
This Guardian article goes into detail about how the virus is disproportionately endangering the lives of pregnant BAME women (who already have a legacy of experiencing more difficult during pregnancy because of inherent racial prejudices).
This article specifically notes how BAME doctors and POC NHS staff are more likely to contract the virus than their white counterparts while saving lives.
This opinion piece by Alana Lentin puts this racism in the context of the constant systemic racism faced by POCs.
Here is a shocking article about discrimination against BAME NHS staff.
To use the words of this brilliant Afua Hirsch article –