Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on Black and ethnic minority communities. Black people are over-represented in Covod-19 severe illnesses and deaths because of long-standing racial and socio-economic inequalities. As lockdown has eased the economic fallout is further exposing vulnerable Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups to the deadly virus.
The Runnymede Trust undertook a survey during June 2020 and have published their results. Over Exposed and Under-Protected - The Devastating Impact of COVID-19 on Black and Minority Ethnic Communities in Great Britain (conducted in conjunction with ICM), illuminates why BME groups are at greater risk from Covid-19.
Black and minority ethnic people are more likely to be working outside their home, more likely to be using public transport. In addition, we are more likely to be working in key worker roles, less likely to be protected with PPE. The research also indicates that BAME are more likely to live in multigenerational, overcrowded housing, so much less able to self-isolate and shield.
The survey, by Dr Zubaida Haque, Laia Becares and Nick Treloar, highlights that one-third of Black and ethnic minority groups (33%) are working outside of their home. This includes 41% of Black African groups and 36% of Black Caribbean and Pakistani groups (compared to 27% of white groups). This inevitably increases their exposure to Covid-19.
It highlights that more than one third of Black communities (34%) are in key worker roles, with nearly four in ten from Black African groups (37%) in frontline key worker employment such as public transport, health and social care (including care workers), teaching (including teaching assistants) and social work.
Shockingly, half of Bangladeshi key workers (50%), more than four in ten Pakistani (42%) and Black African (41%) key worker respondents reported they had not been supplied with adequate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
The survey also finds that BME groups are much less aware of the government’s life-saving public health messaging around Covid-19 – the survey found BME groups were much less aware of government slogans ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’ and ‘Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives’, leaving them under-protected and vulnerable to coronavirus, ‘Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives’.