Campaigners demand Boris Johnson launches public inquiry into deaths in BAME communities after figures revealed black people are FOUR times more likely to die from coronavirus than white people
- ONS found that BAME people are four times more likely to die from Covid-19
- A campaign group has asked PM to set up an independent inquiry into the trend
- People of Bangladeshi and Pakistani, Indian, and mixed ethnicities also had an increased risk of death involving Covid-19
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Campaigners have demanded Prime Minister Boris Johnson launch a public inquiry into deaths in BAME communities after figures found black people are four times more likely than white people to die from coronavirus.
In a letter to Mr Johnson on Sunday, campaigners said only an independent inquiry could get the ‘critical’ answers needed to explain the ‘outsized effect’ Covid-19 was having on BAME communities.
A new analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that black men and women are more than four times more likely to suffer a coronavirus-related death than white people.
People of Bangladeshi and Pakistani, Indian, and mixed ethnicities also had an increased risk of death involving Covid-19 compared with those of white ethnicity, the ONS found.
Death rates are adjusted to take into account age, which shows that black people face four times the risk of dying compared to white people
Figures that take into account age and location reveal that black people and Brits of Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage face are 2.3-fold risk of coronavirus death than white people
When deprivation is also adjusted for, it shows the odds of dying is still higher for almost every ethnic group
In the letter, seen by the PA news agency, the group said a public inquiry will help restore confidence among the country’s BAME communities.
The group added: ‘Only an independent public inquiry will provide the answers we need.
‘Such an inquiry is essential for all, especially for those who have lost loved ones as a result of the pandemic.
‘By instigating such an inquiry, the Government will provide an opportunity for a range of stakeholders to submit evidence through a transparent process.
‘This would help to restore public confidence amongst the UK’s BAME communities.’
And statistics that take into account underlying health conditions as well as all the factors above show the risk is still between 89 and 93 per cent higher for black people
The letter has more than 50 signatories made up of celebrities, medics, and council, union and church leaders including broadcaster Konnie Huq, writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch, the mayors of Newham and Bristol, and the Bishops of Southwark, Barking and Liverpool.
The group welcomed the Public Health England-led review of Covid-19 deaths, which is due to publish its findings at the end of the month, but said it was ‘doubtful’ that its scope was wide enough to get the answers needed.
They added: ‘We write to you with a solemn petition for an independent public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s BAME communities.
A total of 140 NHS staff (pictured, frontline staff) have died during the coronavirus pandemic
‘It would provide a comprehensive exploration of all possible contributing factors that could explain the outsized effect Covid-19 has on BAME communities, killing up to four times as many as white people in some groups.’
The group said that any independent public inquiry must look at the ‘cultural and systemic treatment’ of BAME staff by their employers and their level of exposure to Covid-19 in the NHS, care sector and across all key worker roles.
It must also investigate the preparedness and emergency planning of both central and local government in response to how they factored in the needs of BAME communities.
An inquiry should also examine the level of funding and investment on public health, physical and social infrastructure in local authority areas where there is a significant BAME population and a disproportionate coronavirus-linked death, they said.
The impact of the Government’s Covid-19 emergency powers and social-distancing policy on BAME communities should also be probed, they added.