New study reveals how hard COVID-19 hits BAME people

We have known for many difficult months that COVID-19 was never likely to be a leveller, but the most comprehensive research to date has just confirmed that people with Black or Asian heritage are at a much greater risk of testing positively for the virus, and now we know that Asian people are more likely to be admitted to intensive care.

The report, published by the Lancet in EClinicalMedicine, is a wide reaching analysis of published and peer-reviewed research into how the pandemic has disproportionally affected different groups in society. The North of the country has suffered more than the South, prompting arguments between regional mayors and central government and accusations of the North being ‘hung out to dry’.

Now this latest study by the Lancet has shown just how badly ethnic groups have been affected. It reports that black people are twice as likely to be infected as white people, while there is also a suggestion that people from Asian backgrounds are more likely to be admitted to intensive care and become critically ill. Greater levels of deprivation in BAME communities, combined with less access to jobs where working at home is an option has driven these disparities.

The encouraging news emerging on Tuesday from Pfizer and BioNTech that a COVID vaccine has been found to be over 90 per cent effective means that we may, hopefully, soon see a light at the end of the tunnel. But in the event of a roll-out vaccination programme who will be prioritised?

Older people, particularly those residents in care homes will be at the front of the queue, and surely those who have been hit the hardest in every section of society cannot be delayed.