- people are not blind to colour in a colour conscious society
- racism affects black and white people both but differently
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COVID-19  impact on Black & Asian people

In responding to a Commons question regarding government measures to reduce the increased risk posed by covid-19 to black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities, Kemi Badenoch the minister for Women and Equalities said that her department is carrying forward work on the findings of the Public Health England report “Covid-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes”.

In a separate move, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission has said the government is "dragging its feet" over racism and is failing to make it a priority.

At a local level, many borough councils are no better in addressing the dynamics of racism.

The C19 report confirms that death rates from COVID-19 were higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups when compared to White ethnic groups. The highest age standardised diagnosis rates of COVID-19 per 100,000 population were in people of Black ethnic groups (486 in females and 649 in males) and the lowest were in people of White ethnic groups (220 in females and 224 in males).

An analysis of survival among confirmed COVID-19 cases shows that, after accounting for the effect of sex, age, deprivation and region, people of Bangladeshi ethnicity had around twice the risk of death when compared to people of White British ethnicity. People of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Other Asian, Caribbean and Other Black ethnicity had between 10 and 50% higher risk of death when compared to White British.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also said that people from ethnic minority backgrounds are "disproportionately" dying with coronavirus.
Suggested reasons have included existing health inequalities, housing conditions, public-facing occupations and structural racism.

There were at least 3,876 deaths of black and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals in hospitals in England up to 9 June.

This means that, where ethnicity is known, BAME people represented 15.5% of all deaths to this point.

Recommendations of the COVID-19 report include:

1. Mandate comprehensive and quality ethnicity data collection and recording as part of routine NHS and social care data collection systems, including the mandatory collection of ethnicity data at death certification, and ensure that data are readily available to local health and care partners to inform actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities.

2. Support community participatory research, in which researchers and community stakeholders engage as equal partners in all steps of the research process, to understand the social, cultural, structural, economic, religious, and commercial determinants of COVID-19 in BAME communities, and to develop readily implementable and scalable programmes to reduce risk and improve health outcomes.

3. Improve access, experiences and outcomes of NHS, local government and Integrated Care Systems commissioned services by BAME communities including: regular equity audits; use of Health Impact Assessments; integration of equality into quality systems; good representation of black and minority ethnic communities among staff at all levels; sustained workforce development and employment practices; trust-building dialogue with service users.

4. Accelerate the development of culturally competent occupational risk assessment tools that can be employed in a variety of occupational settings and used to reduce the risk of an employee’s exposure to and acquisition of COVID-19, especially for key workers working with a large cross section of the general public or in contact with those infected with COVID-19.

5. Fund, develop and implement culturally competent COVID-19 education and prevention campaigns, working in partnership with local BAME and faith communities to reinforce individual and household risk reduction strategies; rebuild trust with and uptake of routine clinical services; reinforce messages on early identification, testing and diagnosis; and prepare communities to take full advantage of interventions including contact tracing, antibody testing and ultimately vaccine availability.

6. Accelerate efforts to target culturally competent health promotion and disease prevention programmes for non-communicable diseases promoting healthy weight, physical activity, smoking cessation, mental wellbeing and effective management of chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

7. Ensure that COVID-19 recovery strategies actively reduce inequalities caused by the wider determinants of health to create long term sustainable change. Fully funded, sustained and meaningful approaches to tackling ethnic inequalities must be prioritised.

What is missing from all this is an identified structure to coordinate and monitor the implementation of these recommendations!

It would be interesting to see what part borough councils play in implementing the recommendations of the COVID-19 report.25/7/20