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Bethnal Green and Bow MP says BAME community must be better protected against coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 May 2020

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. Picture: Rushanara Ali

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. Picture: Rushanara Ali

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MP Rushanara Ali has offered a frank assessment of the recent report which confirmed that those from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are more likely to die from coronavirus.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) report revealed that black men are 4.2 times more likely to die than their white counterparts, with black women 4.3 times more likely when similarly compared.

Bangladeshi and Pakistani males are 3.6 times more at risk, with the number 3.4 for females from the same ethnic group.

In response to these findings, the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow said: “Behind each tragic death there is a pattern. Covid-19 is not a leveller as some have claimed.

“It has a disproportionate impact on those living in the poorest parts of our country as well as those from BAME backgrounds.”

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The report found that factors such as wealth, education and living arrangements exacerbate the risk for marginalised groups, but those aside, black people are still almost twice as likely to die from coronavirus.

This element greatly concerns the Bethnal Green and Bow representative, who demands an investigation into why this difference remains: “The ONS says this is unexplained. I am calling on ministers to keep collecting the data and monitoring the patterns by ethnicity and economic background of who is dying from this terrible disease.

“Our scientists can then properly investigate what is happening in order to develop urgent action plans to protect those most at risk.”

What is clear is that adverse socioeconomic circumstances heighten the risk posed by coronavirus, evidenced by the fact that Tower Hamlets has the country’s fourth highest fatality rate, with its 122.9 deaths per 100,000 people eclipsing London’s overall rate of 85.7.

Ms Ali says this must change: “The underlying conditions of health inequality and poverty in our country have put those who are most disadvantaged at much greater risk of death during this pandemic.

“If any good can come from this crisis, it must be a renewed commitment to sweep away poverty and the inequalities in health, education and employment that give rise to these outcomes.”


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