The effect of poverty in the pandemic on the BAME Community.

Over the last few months, we have witnessed a considerable impact deprivation has on the ethnic minority community. There are many possibilities as to why certain areas of society are hit harder than others.

Health:

Throughout the pandemic the BAME community have had a higher mortality rate. There are a number of reasons for this are also interlinked. Certain health condition such as diabetes and high blood pressure which increase mortality rate once a person has caught the virus are more significant in minority communities. However, genetics may not be the only reason for health risks within BAME groups. We have to ask the question; if a minority family are financially challenged, will they have access to the right food and lifestyle that would afford them better health? Or are they stuck in a cycle of deprivation?

Location:

There are a higher number of ethnic minorities living in densely populated areas. The lack of access to housing within more suburban areas due to financial constrictions conveys the inequality which will impact the risk of COVID-19. Whether it is for financial, cultural reason or both, BAME families (especially south Asian) are more likely to live in multigenerational households. Older members will not have the comfort of being able to shield by themselves if they are deprived and/or are being taken care of by member that need to work throughout this uncertain time. Over 60’s have a higher mortality rate than younger people and are significantly more vulnerable. 

Key Workers:

The BAME community also makes up a significant proportion of key workers that include staff in essential stores, transport workers and health sector workers. This means that more ethnic minority members are overexposed to the virus. Adding to this, BAME members living in deprivation are more likely to be job insecure or/and have low paid jobs. This does not give these members of society the option to take care of their health, as they need to earn to live. Not all members of society have access to employment which allows them to work from the safety of their homes. These key workers are putting their lives on the line to keep the country running. This raises the issue of protecting the lives of our key workers that are most susceptible.

Misdiagnosis:

When it comes to health, BAME women are more likely to be misdiagnosed than Europeans. The lack of trust in the health service could increase the risk of a fatal outcome for these women. Without access to private care and second opinions, these women are left to higher chances of misdiagnosis which exemplifies the inequalities they face due to their race.

Conclusion:

It is clear that the issues with access to appropriate healthcare, employment, housing conditions etc have exacerbated the situation of those in the BAME community who face deprivation. The racial inequalities that minorities face today in the UK has been deepened and exposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Unless these issues are recognised and addressed, the deprived BAME community will continue to be failed by wider society. A fair society would see not only see equality in lifestyle but could also save lives.