Socialist Worker

Damning evidence of scale of black and Asian virus deaths

Issue No. 2704

Protest in Stretford protesting the tasering of Desmond Mombeyarara by the police

Protest in Stretford protesting the tasering of Desmond Mombeyarara by the police (Pic: Stand up to racism Manchester)


Black people are four times more likely to die from coronavirus than whites, according to the Office for National Statistic (ONS).

Fresh figures, published last week, showed black women are 4.3 times more likely to die and black men are 4.2 times more likely.

The research found that the risk to people from Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds was significantly higher than for white people

The higher risk for black and Asian people is rooted in a racist society.

It means long term illnesses are more likely to be seen in black and Asian households than white ones. 

And rates of poverty among BME people mean that risk factors, such as living in multi-occupancy housing, are also greatly increased.

Dangerous

Discrimination also means that many of the most dangerous jobs, those with the greatest exposure to the virus with the least amount of protection, are disproportionately carried out by BME workers.

Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) is demanding a public inquiry into the number of black deaths from coronavirus (see below). 

Meanwhile, anti-racists protested against police brutality outside a petrol station in Greater Manchester last Saturday. 

SUTR organised the socially-distanced protest in Stretford after police shot a black man with a Taser stun gun last week.

Police stopped NHS worker Desmond Mombeyarara for allegedly speeding.

Video footage shows a cop using a Taser while Desmond’s distressed child screams, “Daddy, daddy.” Desmond pleaded not guilty to two charges of “obstructing or resisting a constable in the execution of duty” in court on Friday of last week. He admitted to driving offences. 

Desmond told the Times newspaper, “I was saying to the officers, ‘Let us calm the situation for the little one because the little one doesn’t feel comfortable.’ But they were making out like I was using him as a human shield. 

“I lost consciousness, I was on the floor, I didn’t know where I was, I was disorientated, I didn’t have my glasses on and everything was blurred and my ears were echoing.” 

Around 15 people joined the SUTR protest outside the petrol station. Nahella Ashraf, Manchester SUTR co-chair, said, “It was shocking that they would use a Taser like they did, on a man that was holding a child.

“I absolutely believe that it’s because he was black. 

“It’s something we were concerned about when the additional powers were given to the police. 

“We were conscious that this would have an impact on the black community—they are at the forefront of the targeting.” 

Greater Manchester Police said it had been “voluntarily referred this matter to the Independent Office for Police Conduct”.


Demand for an inquiry

Labour’s Diane Abbott is leading demands for a public inquiry into the number of black deaths from coronavirus.

More than 70 Labour MPs, Scottish and Welsh nationalists, trade union leaders and others have signed a Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) statement. 

It calls for an inquiry, the recording of ethnic backgrounds of “all Covid-19 patients” and “no end to the lockdown until it is safe to do so”.

Signatories include Labour MPs Kate Osamor, Dawn Butler, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Zarah Sultana, Claudia Webbe, John McDonnell, Richard Burgon, and Kim Johnson.

The statement says, “We are particularly concerned about any premature end to the lockdown. It seeks to prioritise the economy and profit before controlling the infection and saving lives.

“Covid-19 infections and deaths have disproportionately impacted Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities who will suffer even more from a premature end to lockdown. 

“We are also alarmed by the British Medical Association Survey that showed 64 percent of BAME doctors felt pressured to work in settings with inadequate PPE compared to 33 percent of white doctors.”

To sign the letter go to bit.ly/inquirycovid

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.