As the UK government have declared their intention to open an inquiry into the inexplicable inequality, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called for the ethnicity of people who have died through the coronavirus pandemic to be recorded on their death certificates.
With people from Black, Asian, or of other ethnic backgrounds being prominent in Covid-19 fatality figures, Mayor Khan is set to gather some of the city’s leading figures to discuss the issue and to look at the best way forward.
He recently said: “The disproportionality of people who have been affected by coronavirus coming from a Black, Asian and/or other ethnic background is unacceptable”.
The increased impact on these communities has become increasingly clear with the Institute of Fiscal Studies estimating that hospital death rates are highest among people from these groups; although, they say, it is not possible to understand the full extent of this inequality as, unlike Scotland, in England ethnicity is not recorded on death certificates.
Mayor Khan has successfully lobbied ministers to routinely collect and publish demographics of those who are dying in hospital and welcomed the government’s review into the disproportionate effect of the virus, but only by adding ethnicity onto death certificates will we be able to get a complete picture of the impact on those from Black, Asian and/or other ethnic backgrounds.
Deputy Director of The Runnymede Trust, Dr Zubaida Haque, said: “We know from recent improvements in the official Covid-19 data that particular ethnic groups are oer-represented among hospital deaths with coronavirus, but we don’t know about deaths with Covid-19 in the community or in care homes.
“This is wholly inadequate during a pandemic. It is critical that we get the whole picture of who is being affected so that we can identify and shield the most vulnerable from Covid-19.
“We agree that it is important to have ethnicity recorded on death certificates, as it will allow us to identify any differences in mortality rates between ethnic groups”.