New Study Finds That British Muslims Have Highest Coronavirus Mortality Rates19 Jun 2020
A new study by the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows Muslims have suffered the largest numbers of coronavirus-related deaths among the UK’s religious communities. Jewish, Hindu and Sikh communities have also showed higher mortality compared to other communities.
The ONS report seemingly confirms what most religious communities suspected since the start of the outbreak. The report comes amidst other reports showing that the coronavirus outbreak has worsened Britain’s racial wealth gap, with Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals more likely to lose income, fall behind on payments or forced to apply for Universal Credit.
Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Jewish populations all under increased risk
The report published by the ONS analysed a period between 2 March and 15 May 2020, looking for variables in coronavirus-related death rates based on religious background as reported in the 2011 census, including the option for “no religion”. Their analysis found that Muslims made up the largest number of casualties in the UK, with 198.9 deaths per 100,000 males and 98.2 deaths per 100,000 females.
Their research also suggested that Jewish males had twice the death rate of Christian males when the numbers were adjusted for socio-economic characteristics, geography and ethnic background.
Overall, those who are reported as not identifying with any religion had the lowest coronavirus-related death rate.
Coronavirus is worsening the racial wealth gap in the UK
The ONS report comes as the Telegraph published a new report, illustrating the racial wealth gap in the UK and how the coronavirus pandemic has worsened it. In the report, the Telegraph notes that racial wealth gaps, although still present, had reduced in recent years, with Black African workers earning around £10,000 less than white British counterparts. It also noted that white British households tend to be ten times richer than Black African households.
The report warns that as a result of the coronavirus, ethnic minorities are more likely than white workers to lose jobs instead of being put on furlough compared to white workers. It noted that of the 4,000 workers who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus, 21% were of BAME backgrounds, as opposed to the 7% who were white British.
Citing Andrea Barry of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (a poverty charity), the report warned that as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the income gap in the UK is risking widening as people of BAME backgrounds will likely struggle harder in the post-coronavirus economic landscape, will be likelier to fall behind on bills, and will need to apply for welfare in greater frequency. Indeed, it warned that around 16% of ethnic minority households say that they are behind bills, as opposed to 7% of white households. This will also have a staggered, generational impact as more children are forced to grow up in poverty.
These revelations will be of no surprise to many people of BAME background who have often offered accounts about how the outbreak impacted their lives. So far, however, the government’s acknowledgement of these difficulties has been lacklustre, especially surrounding the inquiries analysing why BAME people have died in increasing numbers.