A collage showing BAME victims of Covid-19 (Courtesy: OBV)
Eastern Eye Staff
THE Labour Party has alleged that the “unequal suffering” in society was “not being taken seriously” by the government, as it delayed publishing the Public Health England review into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities.
Reports suggested that the PHE review was being delayed because of “concerns around current global events” – referring to the American civil unrest following the death of George Floyd due to police brutality in Minneapolis.
They added the authorities were concerned about the “close proximity to the current situation in America”, and the general anti-racist “global outrage”.
“The government won’t be able to put this out without concrete and solid next steps,” a Whitehall source told Sky News.
The health department denied the charges.
Shadow secretary for women and equalities, Marsha De Cordova, urged the government to announce a date for publishing the review, which had been expected by the end of May.
“The publication of this review and action taken based on its findings could save lives,” she said.
“The government has already delayed the report’s release from the end of May. BAME communities across the country need reassurance that this issue is being taken seriously, and not being kicked into the long grass.
“It is unacceptable to delay the release of a report into the unequal suffering of the BAME community on the basis of global events that relate to the suffering of black communities around the world.”
British Medical Association chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the review “needs to be concluded as soon as possible in order for us to make sense of why this dreadful virus is impacting so adversely on the BAME community and, most importantly, what needs to be done to urgently protect them”.
Several studies had highlighted the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities, forcing the government to order the PHE review.
For instance, an analysis by University College London had found BAME people are two to three times more likely to die from Covid-19 than the general population.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: “Ministers received initial findings today (Monday). They are being rapidly considered and a report will be published this week. It is not true to say this has been delayed due to global events.”
PHE said in a statement that the “review will be published shortly”.