Covid-19: Disparate Impact - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:21 pm on 27th October 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education 6:21 pm, 27th October 2020

My Lords, I hope that I have been clear that what is glaringly obvious is the disparities. The answer to the next question, which is why there are those disparities, is not so glaringly obvious, and we must be careful not to jump to conclusions. As I said, they are partly explained by comorbidities—pre-existing health conditions—but that does not explain them fully. Some of them are explained by socioeconomic and geographical factors. That is why we have issued guidance on multigenerational households and areas of population density where people cannot socially distance properly. However, that does not fully explain the picture. For instance, a British black African man is 2.5 times more likely to die of Covid, but a British black Caribbean man is only 1.7 times more likely to die of Covid. Therefore, unfortunately, there are still gaps in understanding, not of the fact that there are disparities but of what is causing them. Unless we know that, we cannot address them.