Leaked report says racism and inequality increase Covid-19 risk for minorities

Following last week’s Covid-19 disparity report, the leak of another report has shown that people from minorities are more likely to catch and die from the disease because of racism, discrimination and social inequalities, as well as other factors.

A draft of a report by Public Health England (PHE) says that “historic racism and poorer experiences of healthcare or at work” could make people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups less likely to ask for care, or insist on having personal protective equipment.

The report, seen by the BBC, is due to be published this week and contains several recommendations about improving access to healthcare for BAME communities.

According to the BBC, the report states: “The unequal impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities may be explained by a number of factors ranging from social and economic inequalities, racism, discrimination and stigma, occupational risk, inequalities in the prevalence of conditions that increase the severity of disease including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and asthma.”

It is the second report by PHE examining why death rates are higher for BAME people. Ministers have been under pressure from doctors after 69 pages and recommendations were left out of the first report, which revealed that people of Bangladeshi origin are twice as likely to die as white Britons if they contract Covid-19.

The head of the British Medical Association, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said on Friday that it was “inexplicable” that the full report had not been released.

The new report contains several recommendations, the BBC said. They include improving the way data is collected about ethnicity and religion, including on death certificates.

The PHE report also says the health risk assessments for BAME workers should be backed by law.

There also needs to be “culturally sensitive messaging” to understand how to avoid catching the coronavirus, and more work on tackling racism within the health service, including greater diversity in leadership roles.

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