'Disproportionate suffering'

‘Reckoning’ needed on disproportionate Covid-19 deaths amongst black and Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage people

Reading time: 3 min

Disturbing new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that black people are more than four time more likely to die from coronavirus than white people. 

When socio-economic factors were excluded in the calculations, the ONS found that black people were still more than twice as likely to die from Covid-19 than white people.

Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage males were 1.8 times more likely to succumb to the disease than while males under the same calculations, while Pakistani and Bangladeshi females were 1.6 times more likely to die than white females. 

The ONS said: “These results show that the difference between ethnic groups in Covid-19 mortality is partly a result of socio-economic disadvantage and other circumstances, but a remaining part of the difference has not yet been explained.”

Unite national officer for equalities Harish Patel said the findings were “disturbing in the extreme”. 

“As a country we cannot ignore the structures of inequality that still plague many ethnic minority communities and that have had a major part to play in the disproportionate amount of suffering people of colour have experienced during the pandemic,” Patel said. 

“Discrimination and inequalities, whether that’s through overcrowded housing, greater risk of health vulnerabilities or economic disadvantage, are a fact of life for black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) people in modern Britain.”

He added, “Every weapon in the government’s armoury must be used to ensure that BAME communities are shielded from further tragedy during the pandemic. 

“That goes for employers as well – far too many BAME members of the Unite family, including London bus drivers and NHS staff, have died while serving their country. Meanwhile those continuing to serve remain at a greater risk than their white colleagues.  

“When we do emerge from the crisis, there must be a reckoning and it will be incumbent on politicians, employers, and the UK as a whole, to find a way to rid the scourge of racial inequality from our society for good.”  

Related Articles