Europe is now considering whether ethnic background statistics should be more accurately recorded.
In many European countries have avoided compiling statistics on people’s ethnic background. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, it has been observed in some countries that the virus is spreading more than average among ethnic minority groups and that mortality may also be higher among minorities.
This has led many scientists and civic activists to ask whether statistics on people’s ethnic background should be compiled more accurately than before, Reuters reports.
Some those concerned about inequality and racism have called for more accurate and comprehensive statistics at European level. This would provide a better understanding of how coronavirus-induced covid-19 disease affects different communities, they say.
Read more: Infections have increased recently in the suburbs of Eastern Helsinki, due in part to large family sizes and cramped living conditions.
This could also help tailor corona tests and protection recommendations that would better target the target group.
Thing is not simple. In Britain, for example, where more detailed statistics on ethnic groups are collected than in many other European countries, it is currently being debated which root causes explain the higher infection rates in different groups of people.
Already last summer, the British Public Health Institute reported on the BBC bythat blacks and South Asians have a higher risk of dying from coronavirus-induced covid-19 disease. The department noted that structural racism may have a bearing on the issue.
In Britain, a survey recently found that 60 per cent of blacks believe that their health is not as well taken care of as the health of the general population, Reuters says.
UN Director of Human Rights Michelle Bachelet for its part, it stated earlier this year that at least in Brazil, Britain and the United States, covid-19 disease is rife, especially in communities with an African background and other ethnic minorities.
“We assume the same pattern is repeated in many places, but we’re not sure because information about race or ethnic background is simply not collected, or is not told,” Bachelet said.
In September, the EU promised to harmonize the collection of statistics across Europe. The EU justified this on the grounds of a better understanding of the “structural side of racism and discrimination”.
More accurate statistics on minority groups could help identify potential inequalities. In the United States, for example, ethnically sensitive statistics previously helped to detect high rates of HIV infection among African Americans and Latinos. This made it possible to better target infection prevention measures.
In many European countries, statistics on ethnic groups are viewed with suspicion for historical reasons. In Germany, for example, the Roma oppose ethnic statistics because Nazi Germany persecuted minorities and used statistics to carry out persecution.
Whereby way can ethnic background then affect, for example, coronary infections?
In Britain, the Department of Public Health suggested that structural racism may be underlying. Adviser appointed by the Board Raghib Ali stated however, in October to the British newspaper The Independent that there is no credible evidence of structural racism.
“There is certainly no evidence … that blacks and South Asians are treated differently when they end up in the hospital,” Ali said.
Director of the Runnymede Trust, an incubator for gender equality Halima Begun disagreed.
“We know that racism restricts people’s access to services,” he told Reuters.
According to Begun, for example, representatives of minorities are not afraid to refuse to go to work during a pandemic. They may also be hesitant to seek treatment for fear of poor treatment.
Different there is convincing evidence from countries that it is living conditions, household size, housing density and the nature of work that are linked to the spread of coronavirus infections.
“But the real question is what happens when you get sick. Does healthcare take you seriously? Are you well cared for? Do you have to wait longer? Does this have a connection to race? ” Patrick Simon the French INED research center was asked by the news agency Reuters.
A French sociologist studying inequality Stephanie Mulot in turn, told Reuters that the weak socio-economic background can be partly explained by racism.
“Of course they die because they are poor,” he commented on the higher mortality of ethnic minorities from covid-19 disease.
“And why are they vulnerable to poverty? It is about cumulative discrimination – access to adequate housing, health care, work. We want to improve these things. ”