BAME and COVID-19
On Thursday (11-06-20) we launched our report into the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on black, asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in the UK. Massive thanks to Murad Qureshi and Rupa Huq MP for launching the report, the report authors who put in a massive amount of work, and all who came to the launch event.
You can watch the full event and read the report below:
This report explores how, and potentially why, BAME individuals are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear that structural factors, such as discrimination in healthcare and education, play a substantial role, and manifest in a variety of different ways. These range from poorer healthcare literacy, to greater prevalence of underlying respiratory conditions from exposure to air pollution, to reduced access to public services.
The role of any possible internal factors, for example Vitamin D deficiencies, is less clear. Whilst such a hypothesis may have merit, there is no conclusive evidence on this topic at present. Nonetheless, we present the current state of research on Vitamin D deficiency, and encourage urgent funding of further research. What is abundantly clear is that evoking of ‘genetics’ to explain the current disparities between white and BAME communities is both scientifically meaningless and ethically dubious.
Many relevant comorbidities, such as obesity and diabetes, are more common in parts of the UK BAME population than their white counterparts. These phenomena may involve a mixture of internal and external factors, including but not limited to access to healthcare, occupation, and personal lifestyle choices. Individuals with such comorbidities are more likely to die from COVID-19, and as such these factors may go some way to explaining (but not excusing) the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on BAME communities.
Finally, we present a number of policy suggestions that may be applied to investigate or ameliorate the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on BAME populations. We encourage the Labour Party to urgently consider these.