Mayor meets with local academics to discuss impact of coronavirus on BAME residents

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Yesterday Mayor John Biggs met with partners from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) to discuss the impact of coronavirus on Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) residents.

Academics have worked with GPs across east London and mapped the prevalence of coronavirus among residents who seek NHS care. Their data shows that Asian residents in the borough are nearly twice as likely to have symptoms of coronavirus when making contact with their GP, and black residents are nearly one and a half times more likely.

The meeting was an opportunity to discuss ways to share data, better understand the complex reasons behind the disproportionate impact on BAME communities and inform the council’s public health response to coronavirus. It followed the publication of Public Health England’s review into the impact of coronavirus on BAME communities, which also highlighted that they are disproportionately affected by the virus.

At the meeting the Mayor asked for more information about the impact of coronavirus on the Somali community.

Mayor Biggs recently wrote to the Prime Minister to raise concerns about the impact of coronavirus on the BAME population in Tower Hamlets.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Understanding the data is important but this is only the start. We’ll keep working with local partners to inform the council’s public health response and I will continue to lobby government to take action to protect all of our communities.”

Dr Kambiz Boomla, from QMUL’s Clinical Effectiveness Group said: “We welcome the opportunity to work with Tower Hamlets Council so that data from GP practices can be used to help protect our multi-ethnic community, and support public health measures such as contact tracing that will be needed to prevent a second wave.”

Councillor Asma Begum, Deputy Mayor for Community Safety, Youth and Equalities, said: “This work is vitally important to a borough as diverse as Tower Hamlets and highlights the link between public health and equalities. We know that coronavirus thrives on inequalities and by speaking with health experts we can gain a greater understanding of how we can take action to address this.”

Councillor Rachel Blake, Deputy Mayor for Adults, Health and Wellbeing, said: “We know coronavirus has disproportionately impacted our Black, Asian and minority ethnic population, highlighting again the importance of addressing underlying health inequalities. Local councils continue to play a vital role in supporting their communities at this time and we’ll continue to be there for our residents.”

Posted on Wednesday 10th June 2020