Factors such as racism and social inequality may have contributed to increased risks of black, Asian and minority communities catching and dying from COVID-19, a leaked report says.
Historic racism may mean that people are less likely to seek care or to demand better personal protective equipment, says the Public Health England (PHE) draft, seen by the BBC. Other possible factors include risks linked to occupation and inequalities in conditions such as diabetes may increase disease severity.
The report, the second by PHE on the subject, pointed to racism and discrimination as a root cause affecting health and the risk of both exposure to the virus and becoming seriously ill.
It said stakeholders expressed "deep dismay, anger, loss and fear in their communities" as data emerged suggesting COVID-19 was "exacerbating existing inequalities".
And it found "historic racism and poorer experiences of healthcare or at work" meant individuals in BAME groups were less likely to seek care when needed or to speak up when they had concerns about personal protective equipment or risk.
The report concluded: "The unequal impact of COVID-19 on BAME communities may be explained by a number of factors ranging from social and economic inequalities, racism, discrimination and stigma, occupational risk, inequalities in the prevalence of conditions that increase the severity of disease including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and asthma."
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Source: BBC News, 13 June 2020