Black and minority ethnics dying at alarming rates in UK and US

Evidence has emerged that black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities are being disproportionately affected by coronavirus, despite making up only 14% of the population in the UK.

One study has shown that BAME accounts for a third of critically ill coronavirus patients in

There is a large number of ethnic minorities who work on the frontline. In the NHS more than 40% of doctors and 20% of nurses are from BAME backgrounds. In London, 67% of the adult social care workforce are also from BAME backgrounds. This exposure puts them at greater risk of catching the coronavirus.

Last week, an official inquiry was launched to investigate why people from BAME groups appear to be disproportionately affected by coronavirus.

Early figures on the incidence of Covid-19 showed 35% of almost 2,000 patients in intensive care units were black or from other minority ethnic background.

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London said: “One of the biggest underlying factors driving the disproportionate number of deaths in BAME communities is socioeconomic.”

He added: “It’s an uncomfortable truth that people from ethnic minority backgrounds are over-represented in poor, overcrowded accommodation, or households with multiple generations under one roof. And it’s a fact that they are more likely to live in poverty or work in precarious and low-paid jobs.”

Mr Khan said that many simply don’t have the luxury of being able to work safely from home during the lockdown and which in turn has contributed to a BAME population with worse health than average, lower life expectancy and a greater prevalence of serious underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes.

The official data on total cases and deaths has not yet been broken down by ethnicity, but concerns were raised over the fact that the first 12 doctors who died after contracting the virus – and the only ones known to have lost their lives so far – were all non-white.

Downing Street said NHS England and Public Health England would be leading on the inquiry with more details to be provided in the coming weeks.

Mr Khan said he hoped that once the crisis is over, that the country would forge a "new social contract" that advances the causes of racial and economic equality, and that prioritises the welfare and wellbeing of every single community in this country. African Americans also gravely affected by coronavirus Meanwhile, in the US, more African Americans are succumbing to coronavirus than any other groups it has been reported.

In Louisiana, blacks account for 70% of the deaths but 33% of the population. While in Alabama, they account for 44% of the deaths and 26% of the population.

South Carolina and Georgia are still to release information on death disparities, but in both states blacks are more likely to be infected than whites.

A similar pattern exists in the North as well, where African American populations in cities like Chicago have high infection and death rates. Federal officials have tied these disparities to individual behaviour.

Journalist and columnist Jamelle Bouie said: “In truth, black susceptibility to infection and death in the coronavirus pandemic has everything to do with the racial character of inequality in the United States.

She added that blacks were more likely to be in close contact with other people, from the ways they travel to the kinds of work they do to the conditions in which they live.

“African Americans are over-represented in service-sector jobs reflects a history of racially segmented labour markets that kept them at the bottom of the economic ladder; that they are less likely to own their own homes reflects a history of stark housing discrimination, state-sanctioned and state-sponsored,” Bouie said.

Beyonce races concerns about African American deaths in the US Beyoncé has highlighted the disproportionately high death rates from coronavirus among black communities in the US.

In a video message for the Together at Home event, a special broadcast of music, comedy and personal stories celebrating key workers around the world, the singer said 'this virus is killing black people at an alarming rate in America' and urged viewers to protect themselves.

Showing support for the African-American community amid the health crisis, the singer said: ‘Black Americans disproportionately belong to these essential parts of the workforce that do not have the luxury of working from home.

African-American communities at large have been severely affected in this crisis. ‘Those with pre-existing conditions are at an even higher risk. This virus is killing black people at an alarmingly high rate here in America," she added.