3rd July 2020   •   opinion
Are British Asians and BLM protests to blame for spike in Coronavirus? No, and here's why

It was inevitable really. As soon as Leicester went back into lockdown I had a feeling some would blame that on the city's large Asian population.

Plus, there have been protests across the country in support of Black Lives Matter. Some are using both cases to imply that if there's a spike in Coronavirus cases, ethnic minorities will be to blame.

But the actual facts tell a very different story. Here's why.

Firstly, Leicester was unique in the way cases spiked, as you can see from the graph below.

Because the UK government still hasn't got a testing-and-tracing programme working properly, its hard to locate the exact source of the spike. Though local journalists say its likely down to its (secretive) garment factories, where sick people were forced to work without social distancing during lockdown.

(though some say it could be more than just the garment factories)

Secondly, the graph also shows that Coronavirus cases in other towns and cities, where ethnic minorities live in large numbers, are inching downwards like most of the country. Unless they spike up like Leicester they are unlikely to go into lockdown for the time being.

Here are the latest numbers, in more detail.

Thirdly, many areas where infections are going up, or have a relatively high number of cases, are areas where not many ethnic minorities live. For example, Doncaster (4%), Barnsely (3.9%) and Rotherham (8%).

If ethnic minorities were driving an upsurge in Coronavirus then those towns would not be on the list.

But what about the BLM protests?

The evidence for that is thin too. Big cities like New york, Chicago and even London are not seeing a spike in Coronavirus cases over a month after protests started.

Why? Because the number of virus infection was low by then and outdoor transmission is quite rare. Its more common indoors.

Also most protesters wore masks. Plus, the protests had the effect of keeping others at home, which kept virus transmission lower. The New York Times explains all this.

In summary

The situation might change as times goes on. And there are legitimate concerns that the opening up of places of worship may change the situation. That said, none of the concerns about Ramadan leading to a spike in Coronavirus have materialised.

So far there's little evidence to show Britain's ethnic minorities are spreading the Coronavirus more than whites.
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Sunny Hundal has been a journalist and commentator since 2004. He is editor-in-chief of Barfi Culture
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