Highlights of BAME Discrimination, A quarantine prisoner, and how COVID has affected Disproportionality.
Disproportionality, affects us all, especially when part of the BAME community, this can be within education and the workplace. But it is enhanced when a pandemic happens. We become prisoners to our ethnic group and our experience. It is often suggested that BAME people are under – represented, within society, but we can often overcome this by listening to others experiences and learning from them.
Tuesday,26/1/2021 ( 13/10/2077), 327th day of Covid-19 started and 309 days lockdown in the UK (3rd National lockdown and in the 1st day of all family testing positive for Covid-19 and the 2nd phase of quarantine life). The PM deeply sorry as the UK coronavirus deaths toll passes 100,000.
A further 1,631 people have died so far it is a huge number than the previous day and the total number of deaths is now 100,162 in the UK.
I woke up early in the morning to par-take in, in some yoga, I have been unable to do this due to quarantine and my jobs. Outside is very quiet and there was a sprinkling of snow on the ground and the surrounding roofs of the neighbouring houses, and I could see snowmen popping up everywhere.
We received another positive Covid-19 test result for my husband , daughter, son and myself . The NHS emailed me about my isolation for 10 days. I contacted track and trace and updated everyone about the test details via phone. My husband came back home immediately after receiving the message from the NHS, and he also told one of his co-workers from the barrack to isolate, because he shares lifts with him on a daily basis. We were told to isolate immediately, with all of my employers telling me to rest, take care and to keep them updated.
I work throughout my community, with more than one job, when I found out about my positive test for the second time, I contacted them like before, and didn’t receive the response from all that I was hoping for. The information that they were given and what I was given, had two differences. I was told to stay at home, and they told me I could work. Part of me didn’t want to have to isolate again for another ten days, but I felt that protecting my family, friends and work colleagues was the most important thing I that I could do.
Due to English being my second language, sometimes I get confused, and conversations, can get lost in translation. This often worries me, that I cannot communicate elements of situations that I would like, if it was in my mother tongue, I would have all the confidence to explain any situation. This whole situation has given me an extra headache and worry that I might lose my job, if I don’t want to go back to work, due to my second lot of isolation.
I can’t get a job easily in the UK due to my lack of English language and my significant equivalent education level from my country doesn’t count in the UK. I am very educated, but in the UK, I have had to start from scratch. I am a graduate from Nepal, as well as, now, being a post graduate in the UK.
I was really stressed with this matter; I could not understand the English details about the second isolation. I thought one of my employers might explain to me more clearly about when I will be able to be back at work.
I was given conflicting information, about isolating due to my families and I positive tests. The only one free from COVID is my cat and he can come and go when he wants.
I understand, that sometimes, when being/ working in a company, situations can be stressful, especially when, people are on holiday or off sick. Having another member off, can obviously add to the worry and stress, of being shorted staffed and not being able to give the service they want. But I can’t help this situation I am in, and I have compassion for these happenings.
Colleagues from my previous job ( from over 20 years ago) contacted me and we shared our memories and experiences of those days and current situations.
Some of people from those days used to call me “black hair lady” in front of Senior staff but nobody had any concern about me and my feelings and I thought it was right, because I have a real black hair. They also, called my “half pint” due to my size.
I did not take it seriously, I only cared about my job to survive, this is due to keeping my visa at the time. I wasn’t a British citizen, and didn’t have the UK settlement documents yet.
With my employment and lack of communication with the english language, I often like to follow up verbal conversations with emails, to make sure that I have everything clearly, and if needed translate them.
I often request that “Could you drop me a few lines via email about what you told me on the phone?” So that I understand, this time I had to be more specific and ask, that “ can I come back to work before the end of the 10 days if I’m feeling okay for this time and I don’t have to isolate again?”, Due to this being my second time with a positive test result, due to my family. I never got a clear response from anyone, I was just told someone would provide me with the information, regarding isolation. I never received this information, and I was worried about losing my job, due to having more time off.
It would be helpful to understand about my isolation as I’m fully recovered and ready to come back to work according to the wording that was given to me because I do respect my job and employer. Therefore, I sent a second email.
I’m very confused and I was made to worry so much and it gave me an extra headache. I was so worried that I would lose my job if I didn’t go back to work. Many friends called me and talked to me about their isolation and issues of work.
In one situation, with relatives and friends, they spoke about how they were contacted in their isolation period, to go back to work, due to the lack of staff. They didn’t, but they shouldn’t have had the phone call and should be resting and getting better.
This second positive test gave us extra stress for the whole family. Again, my husband and I are very tired of isolating, taking care of the children in the family home, we have had to wear full PPE every time, we cook and clean the house, it was difficult for us.
A few friends of mine shared their experience of working that they have been denied and had to argue for PPE . They have never got enough disposable gloves and aprons at work so they have to reuse them until they fall off or get multiple wears out of them. How can we control this virus and how can we stop this from spreading? We can’t do this when the PPE is limited.
It is very difficult to maintain social distancing in a team environment. Another person told me that they use their own PPE at work because there was not enough PPE. They can’t speak very well in English so they don’t bother to ask again and again they just go to Costco and buy a big box of mask and gloves as it is not very expensive.
Many relatives and other families have helped us with cooking, shopping and extra support us which made us feel proud to be part of being Nepali or Gurkha community.
Public Health England (2020) highlighted data of the Death rates from COVID-19 were higher for Black and Asian ethnic groups when compared to White ethnic groups. This is the opposite of what is seen in previous years, when the all-cause mortality rates are lower in Asian and Black ethnic groups.
Comparing to previous years, all-cause mortality was almost 4 times higher than expected among Black males for this period, and 2.4 times higher for females of the same background.
Racial discrimination is only one of the reasons to suffer badly from COVID 19 as part of the BAME community in the UK, this could be the result of factors associated with ethnicity such as occupation, population density, use of public transport, household composition and housing conditions. The lack of PPE at work, and lack of English language, is also a factor within this.
This is worrying, that among the BAME community the rates are so high, and can often scare us.
The NHS track and tracing contacted me and updated my situation every day. This was a great service to have and I am thankful for it.
People from the NHS told me any employer is breaking the law if they are forcing you to go back to work, before your end of the second isolation. I voice recorded the NHS about this information and I discussed this matter with my family and we looked at the possibilities of reporting this information to the police if we needed to.
We don’t want to transmit more of the virus to other innocent people again and my husband ( A Loyal Gurkha Soldier ) view point was different, he said there may be no harm returning to work after almost 20 days, the virus won’t be transmittable. But my husband, prioritises work due to our lack of english language, we need to keep the jobs we have, and like he put it “a job, is a job”.
I believe that when a job is a job, some peoples job is more stressful than others. The NHS GP Dr Adwoa Danso stated that BAME individuals disproportionately represented among NHS staff, but they’re also more likely to work lower down the ranks and they are not in decision making position at work. This increases the risks they face. Low pay, and may choose to work longer hours.
‘BAME individuals within the NHS are less likely to be promoted compared with their white counterparts [per a 2015 NHS equality analysis].
Over 18% of the doctors, nurses, porters, cleaners, transport and catering staff who sustain the NHS in this time of crisis are from black and Asian backgrounds. In many cases with reportedly inadequate protective equipment, makes these workers more likely to be exposed to the virus as well. These collective experiences are some of the resources data for this article and are taken from various sources and are not personal experiences.
I did receive a message from one of my employers, wishing me speedy recovery. I was requested to update everyone about my health and this is a very positive and empathetic towards me and my family after I reported my second covid-19 test positive result .
Similarly, my husband work company contacted him to update how he is feeling and about his medical and welfare centre suggested to him that; do not go out until 10 days had passed.
I never got a response about my isolation, I trust all my employers, who are from different industries, different companies and are strong in the Limited company business world.
Public Health England (2020) have highlighted and pointed to racism and discrimination experienced by communities and more specifically by BAME key workers as a root cause affecting health, and exposure risk and disease progression risk.
Racial discrimination affects people’s life chances and the stress associated with being discriminated against based on race/ethnicity affects mental and physical health. Issues of stigma with COVID-19 were identified as negatively impacting health seeking behaviours.
Fear of diagnosis and Beyond the Data: Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on BAME Communities 8 death from COVID-19 was identified as negatively impacting how BAME groups took up opportunities to get tested and their likelihood of presenting early for treatment and care. For many BAME groups lack of trust of NHS services and health care treatment resulted in their reluctance to seek care on a timely basis, and late presentation with disease.
Racism, discrimination, stigma, fear and trust are some of the main reasons, for many BAME people not up taking the appointment of the vaccination for COVID 19. Many, BAME people fear the general conversations of a positive test, especially when it is personal to them. They don’t want to tell other people, due to the generalised fear.
I was contacted, to enquire about my health, and then the subject would quickly change to find out when I was coming back to work, even though I am still within these 10 days.
All I wanted was an email response about my rights within the second isolation, so that I can understand clearly, and maybe help others who are in my situation within my community who, like me, are unsure and don’t understand. I never got this.
When I did finally get a response, regarding returning to work and what I thought was a response to my email regarding the legislation on second isolations, I was presented with my article. Rather than a response to my email conversation, I thought that my emails would be discussed, but they ignored my many emails about my isolation, but read my previous article.
I was contacted by a work friend and was updated on work news and if things have changed since we have been isolating.
We both shared our experiences of the horrible Covid-19 virus , there experience was much worse than mine, due hospitalisation. We generally chatted about how our employers behaved with us during the pandemic.
I am feeling much better now, than the previous few weeks and have realised that being trapped inside my home with the coronavirus is stressful, because we are not allowed to go out for a walk and general exercise. I enjoyed doing Reki mediation which has made me feel relaxed and stress free at this critical time.
At the end of my second isolation, I am back at work and it seems that people, viewing my story, may have taken my points personally, this isn’t the case.
Please understand that I work for many people over many sectors, I collect and write about statical data from the news, and more specifically the BAME community, none of this is specific to one person or one company. I have collected information, from others as well as, using my own personal experience, to highlight the plight of other. If anything, I hope that anyone in this situation can get comfort, support and help from it.
I have had a lot of feedback from my previous article, all of it positive. This has ranged from, friends, and family and many people from my social media community. But in addition to this, I have been able to have many people from different places and backgrounds read my article that wouldn’t have read it before. I have sparked conversations with my Editors friends and Northern MP’s as well as, many councillors from the Southern Rushmoor Area, and my employers.
They had printed out some of my article on A4 size paper from my Facebook and put on the table from the last month. (http://everesttimes.net/archives/20810)
They said that a colleague had found it that they was worried that it was written about their company. I was shocked! I haven’t mentioned any company or staff or any specific job I do throughout my writing . It is a scenario of general happening within this situation for BAME people and why they are more victim of Covid-19 in the UK as well as memories from my past. If I ever have had an issue with any of my employers in any capacity I would address this directly. Everyone should think of a company(ies) popularity and following that the company has, as well as, there code of conduct especially when trusting each other. Hence, why no company, person and even sources and editors, names have been mentioned.
I am very grateful, for the many people that read this and are able to empathises with my story. I hope this sparks many conversations within others and helps people all at the same time.
Data, Recommendations and references to the above article:
Everyone needs to review data on; Funds, develop and implement culturally competent COVID-19 education and prevention campaigns, working in partnership with local BAME and faith communities and to reinforce individual and household risk reduction strategies.
We need to rebuild trust with and uptake of routine clinical services; reinforce messages on early identification, fully funded, sustained and meaningful approaches to tackling ethnic inequalities. THIS must be prioritised!
There must be good representation of black and minority ethnic communities among staff at all levels; sustained workforce development and employment practices; with trust-building.
All Company(ies), organisation (s), stakeholders and agencies should be considered for underrepresented people at work because they might suffer more, due to, many underlying factors.
BAME people must speak up about these issues and raise concerns when they are facing these in everyday life , we must encourage everyone to review on this topic and update policies within the right department.
All companies, should consider, a meeting with all none english speaking and BAME people, about their concerns (if any) and there treatment (if any), and to move forwards positively together.
Public Health England ( 2020) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/892376/COVID_stakeholder_engagement_synthesis_beyond_the_data.pdf [ Accessed on 18/03/2020]
BAME People and Coronavirus (2020). https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/health/a32236156/bame-coronavirus/[Accessed on 18/03/2020]