AND THE STATE OF RACE
This time of year is reserved to celebrate the Christian festival of Easter where Jesus rose from the cross and defied death itself. It’s poignant message is intended to remind of his teachings and reflect on them in prayer, so it’s normally a weekend spent in churches with family, fellow worshippers and wholesome meals under the banner of Christian discourse.
But this year, discourse will have to take another course as Coronavirus has gauranteed the uncomfortable force of change.
This time we’ll look into the Governments instruction to 'stay home' and explore the racial implications this presents us with.
This is the third week of lockdown and the Government has confirmed that it’ll be extentded but we don’t know how long for. The toll this is taking on the public is starting to show as journalists ask with increasing frequency ‘how long will this go on for?’,Allies within the science community are stating that the Government need an exit strategy and the economical impact is starting to take effect. But the lockdown, by all measures’, seems to be working as the metrics indicate but if a strategy is healing one hand, while damaging the other it leads to only one logical conclusion - it’s not a strategy, it’s a plan, and the problem is that you should plan for a pandemic not during it, just as you study for an exam, not during.
The US have fast become the new epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak, with New York state having the largest number of deaths than any other county bar the USA. While it’s no status that any country wants to earn it’s worth noting the racial disparities this has highlighted. Chicago recently reported that 70% of CODIV-19 cases were African-Americans yet they only make-up a third of the population. This stark statitistic prompted the UK to make a similar enquiry,
(We should take into account that the US has a very different healthcare system and there are numerous variables which aren’t comparable so although it’s being used as a reference, its not, and shouldn’t be, considered as a comparision. Also, the UK don’t normally record ethnic backgrounds with hospitilation stats so the only data we have is based on 2000 people,for this very reason)
UK CODIV-19 PATIENTS
As you can see the ratio of CODIV-19 BAME (Black, Asian, and Mixed Ethnicity) patients per %population points to a similar story highlighted in the US. So accotding to the data the BAME community are more likely to be impacted by CODIV-19. While this may seem sobering, it’s not surprising.
According to the 2011 England and Wales Census:
The Bangladeshi, Black Other, Black African and Black Caribbean ethnic groups were most likely to live in the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods in relation to crime (29%, 28%, 28% and 25% did so respectively)
among the broad ethnic groups, Black people were most likely to live in the 10% of neighbourhoods most deprived in relation to crime (27% of this group did so) and barriers to housing and services (30% did so)
White people were the least likely to live in the neighbourhoods most deprived in relation to crime (8% of this group did so) and barriers to housing and services (9% did so)
among specific ethnic groups, Bangladeshi people were most likely to live in the neighbourhoods most deprived in relation to crime (29% of this group did so) and housing and services (39% did so)
among specific ethnic groups, Pakistani people were most likely to live in the 10% of neighbourhoods most deprived in relation to education, skills and training (27% of this group did so), health and disability (19% did so) and the living environment (27% did so)
In regards to transport the following trends by TFL should be noted:
The bus is the most common mode of public transport used amongst ethnic minority communities (in particular amongst black communitiesand less so amongst Asian communities).Sixty nine per cent of BAME Londoners use the bus at least once a week compared to 56% of white Londoners
The use of cars is higher amongst Asian Londoners compared to other minority ethnic groups (38% of Asian Londoners drive a car at least once a week compared to 25% of black Londoners). The use of cars amongst all ethnic minority groups is lower than for white Londoners
A greater proportion of cyclists in London are white rather than BAME. Asian Londoners in particular are the least likely to cycle. The ethnic profile of cyclists in London is reflected in the (predominantly white) users of Barclays Cycle Hire and Barclays Cycle Superhighways. Of the Londoners who have used Barclays Cycle Hire, 88% are white 
The Governments advice to stay home will help mitigate the transmission, and should be followed. However, as the data highlights, for some groups it’s easier said than done.
BAME are more likely to live in overcrowded housing, less likely to have access to housing and services,. They're also in areas that are more susceptable to crime. In addition, they’re more likely to travel to work via public transport and due to the well-known economical disparities are less likely to eat freash healthy food becuse it’s less accessible.
The pandemic has made standards of living more than a concept, it’s made it literal. You’re chances of survival literally increase if you have better standards. Those who have, space to socially distance; cycle/drive/walk to work and have easy access to healthy foods have a higher chance of survival bevause each of those standards provides comfortabilty during peace times, and protection during these times.
UK MEDIA COVERAGE
What’s more worrying is the media’s response to this which is ‘basic’ at best, the fact that one columnist asked ‘if coronavirus doesn’t discriminate’ in a headline, that was then printed is jaw-dropping.
These aren’t new facts, insights or experiences. So given the current facts highlighted by the pandemic, what should be done to ensure that there is a better standard of living for minority communities? What actions will the Government take to improve the quality of life for those in poorer areas of the UK? are more appropriate questions. The media should be using there platform to leverage the data into actionable campaigns that create policies designed to iron out these indiscepencies, instead of using the data as just a conversational topic as that minimizes the issue which is counter-productive.
The pandemic’s mission is transmision - it doesn’t discriminate, it just highlights it. It’s important to be aware of these issues because the longer the lockdown goes on for the harder it’ll be to sustain with consent. Trust is incredibly important, it’s the cohesive glue keeping this experience civilised, but as more questions get asked about the end date, the more we need an answer we can trust.
In the spirit of trust, it’s right to applaud and celebrate the NHS for their commitment during these challenging times. They are risking their lives to save ours, and this week they even saved the life of our Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Our NHS is renowned the world over for the quality of care they provide at no cost to the patient. An ambitious premise pinned to a noble promise. Unfortunately they’ve become the soldiers in this war, and far too many have lost their lives fighting for ours.
While we applaud the NHS, let's heaar a cheer for the Italian doctors, and the Polish nurses; let's make some nosie for the French paramedic and lets not forget the Spanish consultants because they're at the heart of the NHS. They're risking their lives to keep their promise, because no matter your ethnicity the NHS just sees your humanity.
So during this pandemic Easter, let’s hope that all this death will give birth to a deeper appreciation of each other because if change is our only gaurentee, then lets gaurentee a positive one.
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