A report produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that black people are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 when compared to their white counterparts.
Why is that?
One of the reasons the ONS gave for this disparate is socio-economic disadvantages experienced by minorities. It is no mystery that black people in the UK are more likely to be poorer in health and in wealth. Having said this, even once differences in wealth, education, living arrangements and underlying health issues are accounted for, black people are still twice as likely to die from Covid-19. These factors only partly explain the issue at hand.
The second reason that could explain the disproportionate death rate is the fact that black people make up a huge percentage of front-line workers. BAME make up 13% of the population yet 44% of NHS doctors are BAME. Therefore, because BAME groups tend to work in essential jobs they are more likely to be exposed to Covid-19. But even when you take this into account, 63% of health workers that die from Covid-19 are from BAME backgrounds. So even amongst the NHS frontline black people are still dying at an alarming rate.
The final explanation is something I have seen on Twitter and social media, that white genetics are better equipped at fighting Covid-19 while black people have a genetic deficiency that makes them more susceptible to dying from the disease. This is not just scientifically incorrect, its racist. On the continent of Africa, the current total number of deaths is 2,221; Britain alone already has over 30,000 deaths, so it is clear genetics are not at play here.
There appears to be no clear reason why more black people are dying. So, it seems we have to wait until the government completes an inquiry into it. It is apparent that though that we are weathering the same storm…we are not all in the same boat.
By Tobi Dada – Treasurer of Surrey Labour Students