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BAME groups more likely to know someone who has died with Covid-19, says Cohesion Plus report

People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups are more likely to know someone who has had Covid-19.

A report published by The Kent Equality Cohesion Council and Cohesion Plus also found they were less confident when accessing healthcare.

The report aims to foster understanding on how Covid-19 has impacted the diverse communities of the county through questionaires completed by 896 people in Kent.

When asked if they knew someone who had coronavirus, 61% of the 171 people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups who answered did.

Of the 663 people who described themselves as British White, 57% knew someone with Covid.

Just 33% of people from BAME backgrounds were confident accessing health services in hospitals compared to 47% of British White respondents.

There are variations within BAME groups with just 20% of British Asian Indian people saying they felt confident accessing healthcare compared to 49% Black British Caribbean respondents.

Additionally, 346 of those surveyed said their access to healthcare has been impacted by the pandemic. Where 42% of British White origin reported this, 57% of Black British Caribbeans, 55% of Black British Africans, 46% of British Asian Indians, reported the same.

Overall, people from BAME groups are less likely to feel confident accessing healthcare during the pandemic
Overall, people from BAME groups are less likely to feel confident accessing healthcare during the pandemic

However, just 42% British Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Any Other Asian respondents and 38% of White Other respondents said their access to healthcare was impacted.

Around 70% of all respondents asked said lockdown had a negative impact on their physical or mental health. 91% Black British Caribbean reported a negative impact.

Gurvinder Sandher, who runs the two organisations working on the report, said: "For people like myself it was a challenge. You go from working at 100mph and all of a sudden you're at home. Not only are you trying to strive to keep your organisation alive, you've also got children at home.

"Your life, literally overnight, changes. What we need to understand about the pandemic is it doesn't just have an impact on work or physical health, but on mental health. You can't underestimate the impact it's had on people."

There were mixed responses in how at ease different communities felt about going outside again post lockdown. Overall confidence in going to cinemas (17%) and festivals (8%) were pretty low across groups and confidence in shopping centres (67%) being quite high.

Confidence in going out varies between groups and activities
Confidence in going out varies between groups and activities

Just 25% of BAME responses indicated they were confident in attending restaurants compared to 31% of British White respondents. However, when it came to places of worship, only 15% of British White respondents were confident in attending compared to 34% from BAME people.

Mr Sandher added: "I think people are still worried about social distancing. From my experience, it's a step by step process. I think a crucial thing is going to be the reopening of schools in September, that may then allow for a sense of normality to start to emerge.

"Then we can start to look at festivals and how we can make them safe to attend for the future."

When asked how we can make sure communities come together, he said: "It really comes down to communication. I think it's clear across the board, this has had an impact on the communities of Kent.

"I think now as we're kind of easing out of lockdown it's just ensuring we can get the right messages out. We are really all in this together. By helping and supporting each other, hopefully we can come out the other end of Covid-19 even stronger."

"Our hopes are that this report can contribute towards the dialogue."

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