Harrowing statistics released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed a shocking reality for the UK’s Black population. According to data, Black people in the country are four times more likely to die from coronavirus than their white counterparts.

A report released today showed that Black women were 4.3 times more likely to die than white women while the number for Black men stood at 4.2 times more likely compared to their white counterpart. The report also revealed that a number of other minorities are also at an increased risk including the Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Indian communities.

The disparity is “partly as a result of socio-economic disadvantage and other circumstances but a remaining part of the difference has not yet been explained,” read the report.

Even after taking into consideration factors like age, demographic and measures of self-reported health problems, the Black community was still almost twice as likely to die than white people.

The new data aligns with analysis from the Institute of Fiscal Studies which was released last Friday. Statistics also revealed that patients of Black African backgrounds were dying in hospitals at more than 3 times the rate of white British patients. It becomes even more disturbing when considering that Black people only make up around 3% of the UK’s population.

Unfortunately, despite the pandemic being a global issue, it’s clear that it isn’t affecting people the same. The virus itself doesn’t see race; the problem is that society does. With poor housing, healthcare and income common in ethnic minority communities as a result of centuries of disadvantages, managing with social distancing and travel restrictions have been even harder.

For many, not working isn’t a viable solution to the lockdown. With insufficient help from the government, many Black people and other ethnic minorities are risking their lives to keep bills paid and food on the table.

Last month, news reports emerged revealing a high number of NHS staff deaths, most of which were Black or Asian. Ethnic minorities make up a significant portion of healthcare staff and are put at an even higher risk due to the lack of protections provided by the government. A recent letter from NHS England urged appropriate arrangements be made for its Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) workers, possibly by removing them from the frontlines or ensuring that their equipped with PPE.

However, these statistics are not restricted to the United Kingdom. In the United States, reports show that African Americans are dying at disproportionately higher rates than white Americans.  In Chicago, Black people make up 72% of deaths despite only making up about 30% of the city’s population. Similar statistics can be found in Louisiana, Illinois, Michigan and Milwaukee County in Wisconsin.

Aisha Mohamed