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Why are minorities so hard hit by Covid-19? A combination of social conditions and health factors has turned coronavirus into a disaster for black and Asian Britons

Minorities are overrepresented in some of the most dangerous jobs for COVID (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Minorities are overrepresented in some of the most dangerous jobs for COVID (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)


May 12, 2020   5 mins

Around the world, people are dying from Covid-19 in staggering numbers. As of today, there have been more than 250,000 confirmed deaths from the disease, and the emerging data suggests that the suffering disproportionately falls not only on the elderly, but also on ethnic minorities, the poor and marginalised. These groups suffer and die from the coronavirus much more than we would expect given their share of the population.

In Brazil, in India and in the Arabian Gulf, migrants or the native poor have been devastated by the coronavirus. In Sweden, suburbs containing large immigrant populations are believed to be the hardest hit. In New York city, black and Hispanic residents make up a disproportionate number of deaths, and in Singapore, migrant workers living in dorms make up the majority of the country’s cases.

In the UK, the latest reports from the IFS, ICNARC, the Wellcome Trust and the ONS all come to the same conclusion: ethnic minorities and the poor are the most vulnerable to being hospitalised, requiring critical care and dying from the disease. The ONS, which collects data on mortality from all-causes using death certificates, estimates that black people in the UK are four times more likely to die of COVID-19 than white British people.

Although the Government has launched an official inquiry into the causes of these disparities, the likely reasons are already well-understood: ethnic minorities are more likely to come into contact with more people who are infected, they are more likely to work in essential services, more likely to live in dense areas, and more likely to live in crowded homes.

For example, some ethnic groups are much more likely to work in occupations that the Government has deemed essential during the lockdown: 32% of black African and 26% of black Caribbean people of working age are employed in these essential services, compared to 21% of white British individuals. That they come into contact with more people than they would if they were forced to stay at home means they have a higher chance of contracting the infection.

This is not all, however, since ethnic minorities and the poor are also affected by the behaviour of people around them, and are more likely to live in geographical areas where their neighbours also have a heightened risk of infection.

London and Birmingham, for example, have been hit hard by the disease, and Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people are overrepresented in these cities compared to the rest of the country. But even accounting for that, large urban areas like London and New York still exhibit substantial fragmentation in where ethnic minorities live, which is easily discernible using interactive graphics such as these. This segregation has likely resulted in entire geographical pockets becoming more vulnerable to the disease, which exacerbates the ethnic disparities that we see in ICUs and deaths.

In the US, prisons (which are disproportionately black) have seen an explosion in coronavirus cases. The New York Times estimates that the largest local outbreaks have occurred in jails in several counties and states, and that almost every state prison system has at least one infection among inmates or staff, where social distancing is difficult if not impossible.

It is not hard to see how the ethnic demographics of local outbreaks will be reflected in overall national statistics — they already are. An extreme example is of foreign migrant workers living in dormitories in Singapore, where between 10 and 20 men typically inhabit each room. Out of the country’s more than 15,000 total cases, these workers make up 85%, despite being only 3% of the population.

Crowded conditions within households exacerbate the spread of the disease between family members and flatmates. In the UK, less than 2% of white British households live in housing with more residents than rooms, while that figure is 16%, 18% and 30% among black Africans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis respectively.

On top of all these risk factors, ethnic minorities are also overrepresented in health and social care roles, which expose them to even higher risks of infection, from people they are caring for. Essential workers and healthcare staff, who are often in contact with both infected individuals and the general public, can spread the disease in the general population much faster than if everyone had the same average number of contacts.

By now, you might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned medical conditions as a possible cause of ethnic disparities in deaths. After all, some ethnic minority groups are more likely to suffer from obesity, diabetes and cardiac disease.

Last week, a large cohort study led by Ben Goldacre and Liam Smeeth was published online. By collecting detailed NHS medical data from a sample of 17 million adults, the researchers were able to estimate the effects of various medical conditions on the risk of dying from Covid-19.

The ethnic disparities in deaths are so considerable that they do not go away when researchers account for the level of deprivation in the areas where people live, or when researchers account for age, smoking status, obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, respiratory disease or even all of these conditions together.

The data suggests that, when it comes to an individual’s risk of dying from Covid-19, being black is associated with approximately as much risk as having chronic respiratory disease, even after accounting for the medical risk factors people could have.

But don’t obesity, cardiac conditions and respiratory illnesses increase an individual’s risk of dying from the disease substantially? How could it be that these conditions don’t account for all the extra risk that black people face from dying of Covid-19?

The answer is that these risk factors are related, primarily, to a person’s risk of dying once they have contracted the virus. But ethnic minorities and the poor are more likely to be infected by the virus in the first place, so the risk of death is magnified.

The cause of this disparity in risk factors is not entirely clear, but one popular theory is that black people are disproportionately at risk once they have the disease because they are more likely to have insufficient vitamin D. But this, too, is confounded by the fact that they were more likely to be infected to begin with.

So we would observe ethnic disparities in deaths if there were disparities in exposure, even if there were no differences in people’s likelihood of dying once they had been exposed to the virus. To study the latter risk, we would need to look at the chances of dying once infected (that is, the infection fatality rate) in different ethnic groups. This is information that we lack in Britain, and can only approximate, given the absence of mass-testing.

For now, the unfortunate reality is that the UK still lacks face-masks, mass-testing, central quarantining, PPE and many other measures that could have helped avert these localised outbreaks and can still help reduce their impact. As I explained in March, early action was urgent. It could have prevented the virus from reaching many vulnerable areas entirely, where transmission and deaths can flare up quickly, amplifying the risks for everyone.

There is no way to turn back time now, of course, but there are still lessons to be learnt, actions to be taken, in order to stamp out the virus as far as possible and prevent another wave of disease.

We can reduce the risks from working in essential services with widespread PPE, reduce the risks from poverty with targeted transfers, and reduce the risks from living in vulnerable neighbourhoods with face-masks. We can even limit the risks from living in crowded households by providing centralised quarantining, for anyone who tests positive and for people they have been in contact with, once the lockdown has reduced the number of infected people sufficiently.

Apart from these lessons, the experiences of the last few months should force us to take seriously the importance of protecting the vulnerable from preventable suffering. In the case of an infectious disease, it is suffering that can all too easily spiral out of control.


Saloni Dattani is a PhD student in psychiatric genetics at King’s College London.

salonium

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Jamie Gerry
Jamie Gerry
4 years ago

In London, indigenous white people are a minority, both overall in Greater London, and quite substantially in many individual boroughs. Given this, the way we use the word ‘minorities’ and the term ‘BAME’ have little meaning. Some ‘minorities’ do much better than indigenous whites, but still want to use the victimhood bandwagon claimed by less successful ‘minorities’ to gain power, funding and influence.

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
4 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Gerry

‘Race’ only means something to racists.

Whether you happen to consider yourself a ‘benign’ racist or not doesn’t really matter -it’s still racist – defining people by the colour of their skin and their culture, rather than by their worth as an individual.

As you infer this usually has more to do with a narcissistic identification with victimhood -here the writer promotes herself by being aligned to ‘a worthy cause’; but the ‘worthy cause’ is actually racism.

Patrick Cosgrove
Patrick Cosgrove
4 years ago

That’s far too complicated. Is it racist to talk about red-haired people?

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
4 years ago

No.

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
4 years ago

I mean, yes…

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
4 years ago

I don’t know…

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
4 years ago

Possibly?

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
4 years ago

A little bit?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
4 years ago

Only if you are Scotch.

lwilcox148
lwilcox148
4 years ago

No, Ginge..

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
4 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Gerry

Gov.UK median incomes ethnicity stats from 2019 show in the top quartile: Indians (42%), Chinese (29%), Asian other (28%), and Other (27%) – with White British lagging behind in 5th place. These facts are naturally of no interest to those who prefer to use the concept of “white privilege” for political ends. Focusing on the wealth privilege of other ethnicities is of course a narrative without traction in UK media, and so of course passed over by the authoress.

T J Putnam
T J Putnam
4 years ago
Reply to  Jamie Gerry

The only victimhood is the one deployed by people who whiningly deploy the term to avoid facing up to things they don’t like.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
4 years ago

‘Around the world, people are dying from Covid-19 in staggering numbers.’ I didn’t bother to read beyond this hyperbolic nonsense.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

Yes, that struck me as being nonsense. More people die from the flu most years.

John Jones
John Jones
4 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

No, that’s not true. Approximately 300,000 die from the flu after it infects one billion people. Covid has killed the same number, so far, after infecting only four million.

It is many times more lethal than the flu. That’s why hospitals around the world are filled with patients.

David Havilland
David Havilland
4 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

However approx 1.3 million die in road accidents each year, and that slaughteer will continue long after this viris has passed. Yet our reaction to that isn’t an hysterical over reaction with people refusing to drive and inisisting that everyone else also should refuse to drive

G H
G H
4 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Lale

Agreed. I had difficulty giving this article much credence beyond that first sentence. What about the 600,000 that die each year from malaria? Which phd doctor writes about that?

lwilcox148
lwilcox148
4 years ago
Reply to  G H

student!

John Jones
John Jones
4 years ago
Reply to  G H

Malaria is spread by mosquitos. It cannot become a pandemic. That’s why we ignore it.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
4 years ago

So poor people live in overcrowded housing and suffer more from pandemics, just like they have worse outcomes from health issues generally, economic downturns, education, social mobility, life in general. Who knew?
I’m not unsympathetic. The only answer is a long-term increase in living standards, which is what capitalism has been steadily delivering across the world since 1945.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
4 years ago

1945? 1750 more like.

Simon Giora
Simon Giora
4 years ago

It is also the case BAME medical staff have a higher death rate. BAME staff are paid no differently from white staff, a BAME doctor gets the same as a white doctor, so have the same living standard. Poverty may play a part but it probably isn’t the whole story.

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
4 years ago
Reply to  Simon Giora

The group ‘medical staff’ contains too many variables to produce a straightforward like for like comparison -for example ‘average hospital cleaner’ earns far less than ‘average doctor’ etc… BAME staff may not be paid differently within the same role, but they may overall fulfil very different job roles within the NHS.

Julia H
Julia H
4 years ago

A hospital cleaner is not a member of the medical staff group. Medical staff refers to doctors.

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
4 years ago
Reply to  Julia H

Fair point -but do you think the original post is referring only to doctors?

When it states ‘BAME staff are paid no differently from white staff’?

If so it’s a very small group to form any overall view on the issues raised by the article…

Gargi
Gargi
4 years ago

The article obfuscates more than it illuminates. It assumes the truth of what it has to prove.
It works under the presumption that poor people are more likely to get infected.

But there are two strange facts:
2 trends of high infections: muslims and the middle class.
Hiding behind ‘minorities’ ‘poverty’ etc . donot shed light on the issue. The largest and very tightly packed slum of the world is in Mumbai, India. This locality has startlingly few cases, when we take the density, numbers, median income to account. According to what the logic of the argument this place should be exploding with the infected. Yet it is not.

(No. Donot evade the question by saying that the poor have no access to testing. Because the question comes back. How then do you, uberhaupt, know that they are sick? You dont, unless you presume it.)

Final note: Unherd is supposed to be the place where we dont bow to political correctness and dare to ask the hard questions.

Kevin Bell
Kevin Bell
4 years ago

Come on. Its just been shown that NHS workers have the same incidence as the rest of us. One thing you haven’t mentioned. Do BAME people ignore ‘the rules’, for example by going to the mosque?

Neil John
Neil John
4 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Bell

No, most don’t go to the mosque, they know it’s likely it’s being watched by the press, the imam’s hold prayer meetings in the largest house occupied by an adherent in the area.

Gary Taylor
Gary Taylor
4 years ago

“the suffering disproportionately falls not only on the elderly, but also on ethnic minorities, the poor and marginalised.”

There’s another group who suffer _even more_ disproportionately from Covid than BAME, poor and marginalised. Can you think who that group might be? I’m curious why you omitted that group?

Simon Davies
Simon Davies
4 years ago

Strange that the author hasn’t mentioned that Jews are the most at risk ethnic group of Covid 19, with I believe 5% of deaths in the UK being of Jewish people.

Marco Federighi
Marco Federighi
4 years ago
Reply to  Simon Davies

Yes. I read Jewish Chronicle regularly and this issue has been addressed there a couple of times.

John H Abeles
John H Abeles
4 years ago

Major factors in diet and related deficiencies are also at play causing increased susceptibility and severity of Covid19 in minorities of colour.

People of colour in cold climes are usually deficient in vitamin D, for example due to relative lack of sunlight together with the UV filtering effects of skin melanin. Adequate vitamin D levels are essential for proper immune functions and data point to greater susceptibility and severity of Covid19 disease in people with low levels

Other probable relevant deficiencies are vitamins A and C, zinc and selenium all of which have been invoked in immune defences against viruses

A national policy of distributing free supplements (containing adequate concentrations of these and other nutritional essentials) should be instituted –
specially in poor, crowded areas – and could have marked effects, in my opinion

Adam Perry
Adam Perry
4 years ago
Reply to  John H Abeles

Interesting. I hadn’t considered this aspect

John Jones
John Jones
4 years ago
Reply to  John H Abeles

You are right. A friend who is a doctor has done the research, and vitamin D prevents a cytokine over -response, which causes the severe inflammation causing pneumonia in covid patients. He is currently trying to publish his research in CJM (Canadian Journal of Medicine). He has been touting the benefits of vitamin D as an ameliorative agent for two months, only to find people ignoring him. Only now are they beginning to listen.

Neil John
Neil John
4 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

Dr. John Campbell on you tube has been talking about this for several months, Medcram likewise, but there’s no money in this for big pharma…

olivps
olivps
4 years ago

When you have a group with a suspected association with a specific factor you need to approach this “scientifically” and not ideological. There are many reasons to explain that: it can be just because BAME are over-represented in NHS staff compared to overall population; it can be due because of genetic differences since it takes generations for adaptation to the new environment (probably most of them are first or second generation and as such they still are “adapted” to the original environment; it can be because of behaviour and cultural reasons, etc. Just using the traditional “because they are poor and it’s our fault” doesn’t sound a scientific approach.

Neil John
Neil John
4 years ago
Reply to  olivps

The paper published in Circulation in 2004 shows the research into endothelial cells in arteries and the differences between white and black at a genetic level. Circulation Vol. 109, No. 21 Race-Specific Differences in Endothelial Function, those differences are likely to be the killer factor.

Geoffrey Alderman
Geoffrey Alderman
4 years ago

No discussion of Jews, who it is alleged are dying of the virus disproportionately. See for example https://jewishnews.timesofi… .
At the end of April there had been approx 352 covid-related UK Jewish deaths – in a UK Jewish population of circa 330,000.
But UK Jews are on the whole more prosperous and middle-class than the general population.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
4 years ago

Are they really, or is that another stereotype? Not all Jews are prosperous of course, places like Stamford Hill seem to be home to a lot of less well-off Jews. We’d need to know more. Ethnicity and genetics could be a factor here; but so could living in a dense part of London. Finally, I’ve seen a video of a Jewish funeral (in New York, IIRC), where participants were clearly ignoring social distancing”Š This too could be a factor.
To be fair to Saloni Dittani, she’s only discussing why infection and mortality rates are higher than the UK average for BAME people, not for all ethnic groups.

Nigel John
Nigel John
4 years ago

You cite overcrowding at home as being one of the reasons minorities suffer more with Covid-19. And you offer one way of solving the problem by increased transfers to such families, ie increased social payments. Isn’t overcrowding also associated with the numbers of children a family chooses to have? If ethnic minorities through a life style choice have more children than others which I believe is the case, why should others subsidise that more than already is the case. ie such families already receive child social payments.

martinvt1
martinvt1
4 years ago
Reply to  Nigel John

I see another study, this time from Iceland, linked on Toby Young’s sceptic site, again finds no evidence of children with illness passing it to their family. Another study of a child who got the disease in Italy traced 150 contacts! and found no one had been infected.
Perhaps this author has some new information about transmission within families between children and adults?
Yes adults in high density living are more likely to get the disease…hence the terrible problems of infection rates within care homes and hospitals.

william83
william83
4 years ago

The Liberal(?) consortium have a mind-set that does not allow the proper flexibility for analytical thinking. They insist that all of humankind are the same and there are no attributes that denote difference. Because of this – and related to the subject – they cannot admit the “bleedin’ obvious”.
They cannot admit that evolution has shaped people differently. For instance: skin pigmentation varies to suit the climatic conditions of where people were evolutionary metabolized. Pale skin for low intensity sunlight regions and substantially pigmentated skin for regions of intense sunlight.
Therefore, dark skin people were not designed to live in temperate zones; otherwise, they will suffer chronic vitamin D deficiency that is not conducive to maintaining a proper immune system functionality. Nature always imposes a penalty for every transgression. In this case the higher level of susceptibility to virus infection suffered by dark skin people living in temperate zones. This is what is rightfully described as “the bleedin’ obvious” that certain people cannot allow to penetrate their mental wall of protective ignorance. ,.

Carolyn Field
Carolyn Field
4 years ago

“The cause of this disparity in risk factors is not entirely clear, but one popular theory is that black people are disproportionately at risk once they have the disease because they are more likely to have insufficient vitamin D. But this, too, is confounded by the fact that they were more likely to be infected to begin with.”
No, it is NOT confounded. One’s innate immune system, of which Vitamin D plays an important part, helps PREVENT infection.

80% of the BAME population is estimated to have deficient Vitamin D, levels. A simple, low cost immediately effective preventative intervention is to boost levels through sun daily exposure, eating Vitamin D rich foods, and supplementation.
This is no time for race-grifting.

Lizzie Will
Lizzie Will
4 years ago
Reply to  Carolyn Field

Humans in northern countries evolved to have white skin to absorb vitamin D. If white-skinned people now live in sunny countries, they risk getting skin cancer and dying.

william83
william83
4 years ago
Reply to  Lizzie Will

Again, it is disregarding nature, which deems: White people for temperate zones; black people for tropical zones. Otherwise:
A disproportionate number of blacks with weak immune systems. High levels of skin cancer amongst white Australians.
This is known as common sense. However, common sense isn’t common. Thus the ignoring of the “bleeding’ obvious”.

Robin Taylor
Robin Taylor
4 years ago

Adding to the comments referencing vitamin D. Two very recent research studies have suggested a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and poor outcomes for those with Covid-19.

“The Possible Role of Vitamin D in Suppressing Cytokine Storm and Associated Mortality in COVID-19 Patients” Northwestern University

“The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019
infection and mortality” Anglia Ruskin University

At the very least, one might expect the NHS to be testing all Covid-19 admissions for vitamin D deficiency given that it is relatively simple and cheap procedure.

sonnn1963
sonnn1963
4 years ago

I got as far as ‘lessons to be learnt’.. then i stopped reading.
Unfortunately that was at the end of the article, not the beginning.

Ian McGregor
Ian McGregor
4 years ago

It’s genetic when you have thrashed out every other variable and clutched at every other straw but this has the stench of inequality and racism that is unacceptable in our society. Why are blacks better American football players or basketball players? Why are they not great swimmers? Why are Ethiopians great long distance runners? In the end we are not all born equal whether we like it or not.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
4 years ago
Reply to  Ian McGregor

I thought that too: it’s genetic. But then why aren’t more Indians in India or Africans in Africa dying of it?
Genes probably play a part in every disease, but I’m puzzled by this one.
Dare I say that it might be there is more risk for people who are living in countries with climates their genes are not accustomed to.

John Jones
John Jones
4 years ago

Two points to make here.

The first is that alongside the greater impact on minorities of covid is the greater impact on men. Here in Canada, however, all of the questions put to Prime Minister Trudeau are about the greater impact of the disease on…

Women, because more of them have been laid off.

Apparently the fact that fewer females are working at jobs considered essential during this crisis somehow “proves” that they are the real victims. The fact that men are dying in larger numbers is put down to weaker immune systems. The possibility that older men are dying because many have spent their lives working in environments that were deleterious to their health is not to be mentioned.

It certainly wasn’t mentioned in this article, was It?

Instead, we are now treated to endless valorization of the role played by women as caregivers and leaders during this pandemic. So women are simultaneously both heroes and victims, even though men are more likely to do the essential work, and to die from the disease.

In other words, business as usual in the gender wars.

The second point is the potential benefit of the use of vitamin D as an ameliorative agent in treating Covid, because it suppresses the overproduction of cytokines by the immune system. It is that overproduction that causes the inflammation that causes the pneumonia that actually kills people.

And the people who are more likely to suffer from low vitamin D levels are people in the northern latitudes- particularly darker skinned minorities, whose darker skin prevents the production of vitamin D from UV radiation.

So some form of racial inequality might be a contributing factor to morbidity among minorities- but sexism may also be a contributing factor among men, doing the dirty, dangerous work and dying as a consequence, while feminists complain about “inequality”.

So much for male “privilege”.

But watch for women’s groups to demand inquiries into the “sexist” impact of the pandemic on women, even as male corpses pile up. Never miss the opportunity to profit from a crisis, I guess.

And vitamin D, used at 2,000 iu per day, may be a useful tool for everyone, men, women, minorities or majority alike in ameliorating the impact of the disease.

Juilan Bonmottier
Juilan Bonmottier
4 years ago
Reply to  John Jones

You have my deepest sympathy for the Canadian situation (sincerely)… it seems things have just gone crazy progressive over there. We have similar difficulties over here, but thankfully no Trudeau and, even more thankfully, no likelihood of one any time soon either.

Gerry Fruin
Gerry Fruin
4 years ago

Lot’s of interesting reaction to this students attempt at intelligent discourse. May I suggest her tutors have a quiet word, perhaps suggesting an alternative course. I did though like the line about a disproportionate number of black prisoners in American jails. Yes true and most Unheard readers would probably be able guess why.
The young lady needs guidance if she is to enter the real world. A few years working may help. Though I doubt it. I’m assuming of course that no one is foolish enough to pay her for this drivel.

Neil John
Neil John
4 years ago
Reply to  Gerry Fruin

She’ll probably being shoe-horned into Academia under the cover of Athena SWAN and end up indoctrinating vulnerable undergrads unfortunately.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 years ago
Reply to  Gerry Fruin

She will never enter the real world. In Seattle they recently decided that math was racist because white kids were generally better at math. This is the world she inhabits and will always inhabit, not least because it’s very lucrative.

Roland Powell
Roland Powell
4 years ago

The mention of vitamin D in the article is misleading as it neglects the science. The article is yet another vexatious victimhood claim ðƞ§

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 years ago
Reply to  Roland Powell

There is probably a lot of money to be made by manufacturing and selling ‘victim hoods’. These could be worn by everyone who sees themselves as a victim of some sort. I can imagine something resembling a cross between those vagina hats worn at various protests and the traditional ‘hoodie’.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
4 years ago

That seemed a rather muddled and confusing article. I think it more simply put as

– There is a disproportional number BAME that are poor
https://www.jrf.org.uk/repo

– Poor people are more likely to have underlying health conditions
https://www.bma.org.uk/medi

– 95% of people dying from COVID have underlying health conditions
https://news.sky.com/story/

– Therefore, a disproportional number of BAME are more likely to die from COVID

The bigger questions to ask are

1. Why if the government knew back in early March (and before) that people with underlying health conditions were adversely affected, did they not protect Care Homes, Individuals receiving care at home and other vulnerable groups?

2. Why if the government knew back in March that people with underlying health conditions were adversely affected, did they allow health and care workers with underlying health conditions go to work?

3. Why did the government not give extra training to care workers in the use of PPE?

4. Why did they not prioritise PPE equipment to Care workers as well as Health workers?

5. Why did they not test care workers generally and specifically, those who worked in care home

gbgciom
gbgciom
4 years ago

Lazy research here. Look at deaths per 1000 amongst all races and you will see the darkness of skin predetermines death rates. Why? No one knows with certainty but most likely absorption of Vitamin D. Worth giving to those people tablets to take daily.

william83
william83
4 years ago
Reply to  gbgciom

Giving medication (tablets) pushes the problem into the future. There is a condition known as Vitamin D toxicity. The un-natural intake of vitamin D (by tablets) produces a build-up of the medication that creates disabling health conditions in the latter stages of life, Evolutionary selection has resulted in the natural generation of vitamin D (sunlight acting upon the skin) being turned off (by the skin generating pigmentation) when vitamin D level reaches sufficiency.
The “bleedin’ obvious”- and natural solution to the problem – is voluntary relocation of the people who suffer the mentioned disadvantage to areas that nature intended for them. Otherwise, if they chose to stay in disadvantageous areas, they will have to accept their health disability as “natural”.

Neil John
Neil John
4 years ago
Reply to  gbgciom

Genetic differences in endothelial cells are probably a factor as well.

Russ Littler
Russ Littler
4 years ago

This author is so intent on pushing the “racist Britain” angle, that she glibly tossed aside the true reason why black and Asians are far more likely to contract and die from this condition. Yes, there is a social and economic factor at work, but the main reason is probably an uncomfortable truth. They are living in the wrong hemisphere for their biological make up.
A white skin absorbs up to 4 times the amount of vitamin D from sunlight, as a black skin (it is no accident that northern Europeans have white skin) and any deficiency in vitamin D dramatically lowers the immune system. The most affected are Somalian women, who not only happen to have the darkest skin colour, but also compound this by being Muslim. A body that is covered from head to toe in black cloth is receiving virtually no sunlight at all. When you take Vit-D supplements, this only adds around 10% of what a body needs to have a healthy immune system. 90% comes directly from sunlight. A healthy body and immune system is much less likely to contract the disease in the first place, and I would venture that a post mortem study of these victims would also reveal other immune deficiency problem that have slowly accumulated over many years.
I don’t mean this to be a racist comment, but when we are discussing something as important as human life, we must look at these uncomfortable truths, instead of burying our heads in the sand, out of political correctness. BAME doctors should be asking this question.

therealshapol
therealshapol
4 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

I think the uncomfortable truth is that you don’t know what a hemisphere is? The other hemisphere won’t make a difference. I think you may have got mixed up with latitude. I don’t know how that happens. These three links may help you:

Hemisphere 1
Latitude
How to stop being racist?

Hope that helps 🙂

olivps
olivps
4 years ago

I was puzzled that being a “PhD student in psychiatric genetics” you didn’t mention the relation of the immune system (fundamental in the association with ARDS cause of death in Covid19) with population genomics! Don’t forget that the majority of BAME population in England was not born here! They can be British by passport by in terms of genetic HLA, etc they are still attached to the original population genomics of the place they are original. It will take at least 3 to 4 generations to became “British”. Again, please don’t politicise an unfortunate medical problem.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
4 years ago

Dr Wolfgang Wodarg (pulmonologist among other qualifications) says between 5 – 30% (highest in Africa) of ethnic groups whose ancestors used to experience malaria (includes Europe & Middle East) are at risk if they are treated with hydroxychloroquine: it leads to hemolysis (hemolytic anaemia) which causes loss of breath within two days. This is because they have a G6PD enzyme deficiency. The treatment was used in Italy and Spain as a preventative and as a therapy. Doctors and nurses took it too. It’s being used in New York. I think he said it’s used in the UK too, but it wasn’t clear from the interview. Dr Wodarg also says that cortizone and anti-viral drugs with which hospitalized Covid 19 patients are treated can produce damaging side effects which make them worse.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
4 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

So you’re saying that some of the deaths are iatrogenic, because doctors are treating the disease rather than the patient? The question is: what works for Covid-19 without the sideeffects for that population at least? And is there, or could there be, a blood test for such patients?

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
4 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

You’d think doctors would check first. I would assume they’d know about the enzyme deficiency in certain groups and would test for it. Dr Wodarg’s very interesting interview suggested as much. It’s available on http://www.off-guardian.org
“Watch: Corona crisis: what really happened and how we can learn from it.” Posted 7th May

Neil John
Neil John
4 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

With the number of deaths or lifetime disability annually in medical schools due to trainee Dr’s mixing raw 95% alcohol (190% proof) cocktails and punch using stolen medical ethanol it’s no surprise.

Neil John
Neil John
4 years ago

Dark skin is less efficient at producing Vitamin D, a known problem, the genetic element goes much deeper, I suggest watching this: https://www.youtube.com/wat

lwilcox148
lwilcox148
4 years ago

Ms Dattani, please proof read your article to ensure it has; 1. facts. 2. no chip on its shoulder! You may be correct that a high number of BAME in the UK have been unfortunately affected, but most likely not down to your victimhood reasoning.

As a Phd student you should know by now, to use ‘believe’ was a big fat F in any exam submission. I believe I have a big pen is. The facts does not bear this out

lwilcox148
lwilcox148
4 years ago

Another fire and forget article. It would have been nice to see Ms Dattani respond to the comments below.

Kevin Prescott
Kevin Prescott
4 years ago

Remove

Rouben TER-MINASSIAN
Rouben TER-MINASSIAN
4 years ago

Thanks for your work and the fact you enable links to sources. Evidence is work to get at it and is no use for people who are just looking for reinforcement of apriori beliefs. They are just participating in the present super merchandising of doubts.

hari singh virk
hari singh virk
4 years ago

I do think that there needs to be some sort of investigation into inequality or discrimination in treatment accorded to peoples sovial class and ethnicity. Not all patients of the NHS can expect the same level or care and as Boris Johnson, for example many of them would not have been monitored by doctors before bring admitted into hospital in the way he was. Nor would they have been so readily admitted as him.

James John
James John
4 years ago

This article sadly loses its way around ” How could it be that these conditions don’t account for all the extra risk that black people face from dying of Covid-19?”, when it starts wandering back and forth between what we don’t know and what has already been shown. It could have ended there just as well. And anyway, it’s all been said here already: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
4 years ago
Reply to  James John

One thing that BBC article misses is that the ONS baseline data is from the 2011 census, and that’s rather out of date in 2020. What if there are far more BAME people (especially men) in this country than there were then? That would throw out the numbers somewhat.

Scott Allan
Scott Allan
4 years ago

It seems you state the most likely answer: “disparities, the likely reasons are already well-understood: ethnic minorities are more likely to come into contact with more people who are infected, they are more likely to work in essential services, more likely to live in dense areas, and more likely to live in crowded homes.”

So I don’t understand why the article went on. I know from running two international student accommodation houses that the infections of the students were for the same reason. I increased the rent slightly and bought all the cleaning supplies and scheduled the students to clean regularly. It is a partnership of cooperation that is the solution.

I think what you are suggesting is a “Study” to prove the victim status of BAME (What the bloody hell that means I don’t know) people is a waste. I think you want to add a letter to your acronym, the letter “L”.

If so this is just another time and money wasting SJW CULT stunt.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
4 years ago

“In Sweden suburbs containing large immigrant groups are believed to be hardest hit”. So nobody has actually calculated? Germany had over one million immigrants, have they been included in the figures?

Bob Henson
Bob Henson
4 years ago

Can I please make a plea that Unherd authors do not, in future use the word ‘Black’ to describe African people, we refer to members of BAME by their general ethnic group not by the colour of their skin, please African people are African or Afro Caribbean or Afro American if you wish. If you wish to continue using the word ‘black’ please can it be ‘Black’ with a capital B as we refer to other ethnic groups as Asian or whatever with the capital letter.

Dave Weeden
Dave Weeden
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Henson

A pandemic is exactly the right time to be arguing about words.

David Brown
David Brown
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Henson

Asia is a continent. Continents, and the demonyms arising from them, have initial capital letters. Black and white are tones, just as red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple are colours. Tones and colours do not have initial capital letters. If you expect a capital letter for the word “black” do you also expect, and give, one for the word “white”?

BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) is a lumping acronym, and thus a way of including many disparate groups under one heading. Are British Italians BAME? Or people of Huguenot descent? They’re each of a distinct ethnicity, and decidedly a minority, but would probably not be considered to qualify. It also allows very different cultures to be treated as one, which is, in some ways, no bad thing – but only if we include the indigenous population, which would remove the need for the acronym at all.

I should add that where a medical condition, or treatment (see Lee Jones above), can be shown to affect one ethnicity in different ways from another, some consideration of that should be made by clinicians.

T J Putnam
T J Putnam
4 years ago

Good overview. As ever, Covid19 shows up things as they really are . Comparing the relative morbidity of an ethnic minority in different countries is a good index of their relative disadvantage in one country as compared to others. You get a league table of effective ethnic discrimination/exploitation.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
4 years ago
Reply to  T J Putnam

Everyone in the UK has had at least 11 years of free eduction (usually more), free healthcare along with endless advice about diet and exercise, and there is almost unlimited welfare available for those who want it. As such, nobody is at a ‘disadvantage’, relative or otherwise.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
4 years ago
Reply to  T J Putnam

Umm, no, you don’t get a league table of discrimination. The UK offers fairly open immigration from some of the most impoverished countries in the world precisely because it is not generally a racist country. People in dire poverty in places like Bangladesh can move to the UK and see a huge improvement in their standard of living. While they might have a slightly lower income than the average Brit and this makes figures in the UK look worse, they’re still individually orders of magnitude better off.