The content of the 89-page report by Public Health England came as a surprise to many as it contained very little analysis beyond what was already known to the public-- that belonging to an ethnic minority group is a major risk factor, that people from black and Asian ethnic groups are up to twice as likely to die of COVID-19 than those from white British backgrounds.
Leading some to say the report has been whitewashed and others to criticize it for making no mention of structural inequalities in the country:
As it turns out, an earlier draft of the review, circulated within the government last week contained a section that suggested ‘discrimination and poorer life chances’ were playing a part in the increased risk of COVID-19 to those with BAME backgrounds. According to HSJ, a news service that covers policy and management in the National Health Service in England, the government removed that key section from the review.
According to the 2011 census, the most accurate source available- only 14.5% of the English population were from BAME backgrounds. In 2016, the country’s Office for National Statistics estimated it could have increased to 15.4% of the population. Still, these groups have had disproportionately high deaths from COVID-19: 56 per 100,000 black people not to mention other ethnic minority backgrounds.
While the UK government promises to get to the bottom of the problem, BAME leaders have expressed "upset" and "confusion" at the review describing it as a "lost opportunity for addressing the unfairness, disproportionality and disparity in the country’s economic and health system.