London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called on the government to start collecting and publishing the ethnicities of those infected with the Chinese coronavirus, claiming that “structural racism” in Britain has led to more racial minorities dying from the illness.
The mayor said that the idea that the COVID-19 virus is “great leveller” is “a complete myth”. He claimed that racial inequality was the reason why people of black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have been overrepresented in the pandemic.
“Even though it can be uncomfortable for some to acknowledge, we cannot ignore the barriers of discrimination and structural racism that exist in our society, which contribute to ethnic minorities being more likely to suffer from poverty, have underlying health conditions and work in insecure, low-paid jobs,” Khan wrote in British left-wing newspaper The Guardian.
Khan said that because “people from ethnic minority backgrounds are overrepresented in poor, overcrowded accommodation, or households with multiple generations under one roof”, they are more likely to become infected with the virus.
“Many simply don’t have the luxury of being able to work safely from home during the lockdown. All of this contributes to a BAME population with worse health than average, lower life expectancy and a greater prevalence of serious underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes,” he added.
Khan demanded that the government start publishing the ethnicities of those who have been infected with the coronavirus immediately. The government has committed to releasing the demographic figures, but Khan said that “promises to provide this data in the future is not good enough – we need it to be collected and published right now. There simply is no good reason to wait.”
The London mayor also called for a “new social contract” after the coronavirus pandemic has passed, in order to reduce “racial and economic equality, and prioritises the welfare and wellbeing of every single community in this country”.
Khan’s attempt to link coronavirus cases with alleged structural racism echoes similar left narratives in the United States.
Progressive members of the U.S. Congress including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) made a similar demand of the government to release data about the racial background of coronavirus patients.
“Any attempt to contain COVID-19 in the United States will have to address its potential spread in low-income communities of color, first and foremost to protect the lives of people in those communities, but also to slow the spread of the virus in the country as a whole,” the lawmakers wrote.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the far-left congresswoman from New York, suggested that coronavirus relief money should be “drafted with a lens of reparations” in order to make up for “environmental racism” and other “underlying health conditions” that have caused minorities to be “disproportionately” affected by the virus.
To date, the coronavirus is known to hav infected some nearly two and a half million people of widely disparate racial backgrounds across the globe.
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