Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people have been disproportionately hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as a result of “decades of structural injustice, inequality and discrimination”, a damning review led by Baroness Doreen Lawrence has found.
The report – which was commissioned by Labour leader Keir Starmer – branded the situation an “avoidable crisis”, warning that the pandemic must be a “watershed moment for change”.
“Black, Asian and minority ethnic people have been overexposed, under protected, stigmatised and overlooked during this pandemic – and this has been generations in the making,” Lawrence wrote.
It comes a week after HuffPost UK revealed that intensive care beds across England are filling up with BAME people at the same disproportionate rate as during the first peak, suggesting no lessons were learnt – despite the government making plenty of noise about the commissioning months ago of a review into the problem by Public Health England.
Lawrence’s work has now concluded that BAME people are not only more likely to work in sectors that have been “overexposed” to Covid-19, but to have a higher chance of having other conditions that increase the risk of serious illness and face greater barriers to accessing healthcare.
Workers have been put at risk by the government’s failure to facilitate Covid-secure workplaces, and the “no recourse to public funds” rule has disproportionately affected BAME communities, the report said.
It also warned that BAME people have faced “disgraceful racism” as people have sought to “blame different communities for the spread of the virus” – fuelled in part by global leaders dubbing it the “Chinese virus”.
In September, youth worker Hesketh Benoit told HuffPost UK how he had lost 37 friends to Covid-19 – 36 of whom were Black.
“The penny started to drop very early on in the pandemic for me that all the people I knew who were dying of coronavirus were Black,” he...