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Coronavirus deaths disproportionately impacting black people in London

A DISPROPORTIONATE number of black and minority-ethnic (BAME) patients are dying with coronavirus in London hospitals, NHS figures showed today.

Black people account for 13 per cent of the capital’s population but 16 per cent of deaths, the data shows.

People from white backgrounds made up the majority of deaths at 55 per cent, but they also make up a larger proportion of the population of London.

A proportionately lower number of Asian people died with coronavirus, according to the statistics.

The figures are based on 3,929 hospital deaths and do not include deaths in care homes or communities.

Epidemiologist Dr Shikta Das said that one factor was a high rate of BAME people working on the coronavirus front-line, and at greater risk of contracting coronavirus. 

“Viral load is how much you are exposed to an infectious disease,” she said.

“Twenty per cent of [the] NHS workforce are from an ethnic-minority background. The figure for doctors is 44 per cent.

“In this situation, the BAME group is a doctor, a nurse, a technician, bus drivers, shelf stackers, care workers — all these groups of people are getting more exposed to Covid-19 directly.”

She pointed out that bus drivers are in contact with people frequently and that doctors and nurses are unable to care for a patient two metres away from them.

“The more exposure you have the more lethal that dosage is,” Dr Das said. “So it is no surprise that these people are dying.”

London has now had nearly 5,000 hospital deaths linked to the virus.

NHS England has called on health trusts to carry out risk assessments for BAME workers as they are “at potentially greater risk” from coronavirus.

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