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COVID-19 impacts disproportionately on people of BAME background

Photo mosaic for NHS vigil, 2011

Of the 54 front line health and social care workers in England and Wales that have died because of COVID-19, 70% of them were black or from an ethnic minority, an analysis by Sky News has found. People of BAME background make up just 13% of the population of England and Wales, but account for 44% of all NHS doctors and 24% of nurses.

And it's not just BAME health and social care workers who are affected. COVID-19 appears to having a disproportionate impact on the wider BAME population. Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of the British Medical Association, said:

"There is growing evidence that BAME people are disproportionately likely to be exposed to and contract COVID-19, to suffer severely, and to die from the virus. Nearly a third of people critically ill with COVID-19 are BAME, while only 13% of the UK population are BAME.

We are calling on the government to investigate this deeply concerning trend and take any and all possible action to mitigate the heightened risks which this pandemic may pose to BAME people and doctors in our country."

The Guardian reports that the Government has announced that it will be conducting an inquiry into the impact of COVID-19 on the BAME population.

"Downing Street said NHS England and Public Health England would be leading on the inquiry. No further details have been provided as to the scope or timeframe of the inquiry

Photo: Mosaic for NHS vigil. 2011 © TUC. Some rights reserved