Leading Tower Hamlets figures react to findings which lay bare the impact of coronavirus on BAME community
PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:35 12 May 2020
Tower Hamlets’ leading figures have reacted to new analysis which reveals the impact of Covid-19 on the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) population.
The council — alongside local GPs and Queen Mary University — has been studying how the pandemic is affecting Tower Hamlets.
Their analysis shows that Asian residents are twice as likely to show signs of Covid-19, with those of south Asian origin 1.9 times more likely, when adjusted for age.
Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “Many of us have been raising concerns about the disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on BAME people for weeks and weeks now — since the onset of the crisis.”
Ms Begum said that these new figures add to “the growing body of evidence”, and that “there must be no more delays or half measures”.
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Similar sentiments were echoed by mayor John Biggs in his recent letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, which demanded the government “take decisive steps to both investigate and, more importantly, act to resolve the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities”.
The mayor acknowledged that the borough’s diversity makes these findings especially worrying, adding that not only is he concerned in terms of “contracting the virus”, but also by expected “secondary impacts” such as poor mental health and loss of earnings.
National statistics reflect the local analysis; despite only accounting for 14 per cent of the overall population, 35pc of coronavirus patients in critical care beds are BAME. And 68pc of the 53 NHS staff who have died were BAME.
Though the mayor welcomes that Public Health England is set to investigate this issue, both he and Ms Begum believe this doesn’t go far enough.
Additional resources are needed for areas with large BAME populations, says Mr Biggs, while Ms Begum demands the government “urgently take action”.
The Poplar and Limehouse representative has been campaigning on this subject for several weeks, including raising the issue at the second reading of the Finance Bill in late April and filing an early day motion on May 4 — “Covid-19 and BAME communities”.
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