Shropshire Star comment: Covid-19 has shone a light on differences across our country

One of the many worrying issues to have emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic is the disproportionate affect it has on those from black, Asian and minority backgrounds.

Olivia Smart, advanced practioner and Leeds Ladies FC defender, vaccinates Mewa Singh Khela, 72
Olivia Smart, advanced practioner and Leeds Ladies FC defender, vaccinates Mewa Singh Khela, 72

News that a major investigation is now under way to determine the reasons why people from BAME backgrounds have suffered more is therefore both timely and welcome.

Previous research has found that black people are nearly four times as likely to die from Covid-19 as white people and data suggests people from Asian backgrounds are up to two and a half times more likely to die.

Whether the death rate is higher because of physiological, cultural or other factors, they must be brought to light.

The investigation will also consider the wider social, cultural and economic impact of Covid-19.

Studies have shown that people from BAME backgrounds are also among those who have faced the biggest labour market shocks as a result of the pandemic and have experienced above average increases in mental distress. It is a major concern in a country that celebrates diversity.

Covid brought us all together as a country. But it has also shone a light on the differences in our country, whether it be through race, wealth or standard of living.

The experience we have been through must be used to ensure future generations have a better chance.

Where there are cultural factors at play, the appropriate work must be done to provide better knowledge and understanding. Where people are reluctant to have a vaccination or suspicious of what it may entail, greater education must be provided.

Quite simply, it is not good enough to accept the status quo, to accept that some will have better outcomes than others when it is within our ambit to provide greater equality for all.

These are important issues in our region and affect a great many local people. It is essential that the Government pulls out all the stops.

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