Your report (Minorities in UK no longer at much higher risk of dying from Covid, 22 February) suggesting that the Office for National Statistics’ latest release of Covid-19 mortality figures shows rates of deaths for ethnic minorities are now much lower than earlier in the pandemic will bring cold comfort to many who lost friends and family members. But more disappointing is allowing a repetition that it is socioeconomic factors that drove the disproportionate death rates among black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, when it is increasingly clear that it was failure to prepare that is key.
Government policy was to ask people to self-isolate in their homes, even though decades’ worth of evidence shows that these communities are much more likely to live in overcrowded homes. Government policy was to ask people to work from home, even though we knew Black, Asian and minority ethnic people were more likely to work in jobs where this was not possible. The government asked people to wash their hands and avoid contact, even though these communities were more likely to be working in health, care and transport, coming into contact with people. At the same time, the government failed to heed the calls for the provision of PPE.
This matters because the Covid-19 inquiry will soon be examining preparedness, but has chosen not to have specific focus on racial inequality. It seems we do not want to learn the lessons from the pandemic.
CEO, Race Equality Foundation