Message from Cllr Carole Williams: Response to the Goverment report into coronavirus disparities and risks

Cllr Carole Williams writes in response to the Goverment report into how different factors have affected COVID-19 risk and outcomes.

Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Equalities
Ahead of tonight’s Health in Hackney Scrutiny committee, we would like to welcome the attendance of governments SAGE members, including Professor Fenton who is investigating the impacts of Coronavirus on different groups of people. 

The issues raised in Public Health England’s recent report into coronavirus are vitally important and spell out what we already know: that people from Black and Asian backgrounds, as well as those with protected characteristics, are up to twice as likely to die of coronavirus than those from White backgrounds. 

We need to know why this is the case and we are disappointed that the report doesn’t go further into investigating the reasons behind this. We also want to see recommendations for minority communities not covered in the report, such as locally for our Orthodox Jewish communities. 

Both the council and partners in the wider health system are working on new risk assessments and working conditions to make workplaces safe for all staff, but this task is difficult without clear recommendations from national bodies like PHE and NHS England.

Though we disappointed with this report, we welcome the news from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, that they will be investigating the impact of coronavirus on Black, Asian and Ethnic communities, and are hoping to develop evidence-based recommendations so as a country we can take urgent action to tackle entrenched racial inequalities when fighting the virus. We also welcome assurances from Professor Fenton who is making efforts to provide Local Council’s with actionable recommendations.

We need to address the questions of underlying causes, we need something that speaks from the community perspective and provides examples and case studies of how we start addressing these disparities. We need meaningful actions now that will ultimately help us save lives. 

Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Equalities