Sporting Equals Statement: Public Health England report Disparities in the risk and outcomes from COVID-19

We at Sporting Equals were anticipating the recent Public Health England report Disparities in the risk and outcomes from COVID-19, as we were hopeful that it would provide insight, answers and recommendations as to how we can combat the high number of COVID-19 related deaths in Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities here in Britain, especially in light of a potential second wave of the virus being a future possibility. 

While the report confirmed suspicions and speculations we already had regarding the disproportionate deaths within BAME communities. We were surprised to see a lack of depth when discussing the reasons as to why this has occurred. The report confirmed that those of Bangladeshi origin were twice as likely to die from the virus, in addition to “People of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Other Asian, Caribbean and Other Black ethnicity had between 10 and 50% higher risk of death when compared to White British.” This risk has already been established by the high number of deaths that have been reported for BAME communities in Britain. 

We're pleased that there will be a further review on this matter and we would welcome communication with the Junior Equalities Minister, to support the investigation ahead of the full report being published.  We look forward to a deeper analysis on BAME communities in Britain who have been affected by COVID-19 and a look into intersectionality in more depth.  

There are many key points that are referenced in the report but there seemed to be an inability to further explore and investigate. For instance, structural inequality was mentioned but there was no emphasis on how to combat that. We need to look very closely at racial inequalities when combating this disease. The link has been established we need to now understand why it exists and what more needs to be done. We are concerned with the lack of physical activity in some BAME groups and feel it feeds into the health inequalities that are mentioned in this report but there was little to no exploration of this. When reflecting on the sobering statistic that 36% of all those in critical care have been BAME, we feel there is more to be uncovered and investigated here.  

The report clearly established that, “People from Black ethnic groups were most likely to be diagnosed. Death rates from COVID-19 were highest among people of Black and Asian ethnic groups.” But we have little data to support why this is and there has been no clear steer from the report on how we can resolve this issue.  

We look now to the government to address the shortcomings of this report and consider clear recommendations to protect BAME communities amongst this pandemic, particularly when considering the possibility of a second wave. We hope that together we can support, uplift and educate one another in order to overcome this disease.