'Black people nearly twice as likely to die from Covid-19'

1 October 2020, 09:25 | Updated: 1 October 2020, 09:36

London has been warned that it is at a "very worrying tipping point" with the virus
London has been warned that it is at a "very worrying tipping point" with the virus. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Black people are nearly twice as likely to die from coronavirus than white people, a new study has found.

The research, commissioned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, found black people were 1.9 times at risk to COVID-19, with this being partly due to long-standing socio-economic inequalities.

It was also found to be explained by the over-representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in careers with more exposure to the virus, such as in the health and social care sector.

Released on Thursday by researchers at the University of Manchester, the report analysed data from local and national sources to investigate the impact of the pandemic on people with characteristics protected by law.

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The results from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data also revealed men were more at risk to the virus, with death rates being three times higher for males in lower-paid, manual roles, than those working in management, business and in desk-based roles.

Women, however, were found to have experienced disproportionate economic, social and psychological effects.

For instance, mothers were found to be 47% more likely to have lost or resigned from their jobs than fathers.

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The results have since prompted Mr Khan to urge the government to "invest in our communities and organisations supporting those most at risk" as he honed in on his earlier encouragement to not ignore the "structural problems" that have resulted in BAME communities being disproportionately affected by the virus.

He said: "I urge ministers to invest in our communities and the organisations supporting those most at risk, to ensure that accessible health guidance is available to all and, as case numbers are rising again, that there is adequate support in place for those who've lost their jobs, had their hours cut or been forced to self-isolate."

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Earlier on in the pandemic, he had also noted: "The government cannot ignore the structural problems in our society that mean minority ethnic Londoners are more likely to work in lower paid jobs, live in overcrowded accommodation and suffer from underlying health conditions which put them at greater risk."