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Covid-19 resources

Populations and Society


From conditions for dwellers in Favelas in Brazil, to refugees in migrant camps in Greece, or Rohingya people fleeing Burma or the victims of racial profiling and police actions in the UK and USA, Covid-19 represents an additional burden which can prove crushing.  Amnesty International has highlighted the desperate plight of refugees. 

United Kingdom

The Covid-19 outbreak in the UK and other countries has highlighted the vulnerability of Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.  Medical and health care workers of a number of ethnic minority backgrounds are crucial to the work of the NHS but have suffered disproportionately.  Different reasons have been sketched out, such as populations in deprived areas and susceptibility to conditions such as diabetes. All are considered to urgently need further investigation.  However, concerns include being unwilling to raise complaints due to discrimination and a lack of protective equipment 

Further news items reveal the mortal dangers faced by migrant workers in precarious employment, even at the heart of Government. Jack Schenker (2020) writes about "Death at justice: the story of Emanuel Gomes" in London at the height of the Coronavirus crisis.

What is very clear is the appalling human cost, to individuals, families, communities and society as a whole. Each story is a human story and, time after time, simply heart-rending.  Noted author and broadcaster Michael Rosen spoke to Victoria Darbyshire on BBC News at 9 (2020) (details at end of this section) about his experience of the disease.

  • NB: requires login to University of Birmingham Box of Broadcasts resource.  See reference list for details of programme.

University of Birmingham research and resources

At the University of Birmingham, researchers such as those in the Centre for Research in Race and Education, and in the Institute for Research into Superdiversity, are engaged with essential work on issues of education, social inequality, diversity and migration.

For University users, recommended databases for finding quality journal articles include Web of Science (Core Collection includes Social Sciences Citation Index as well as Science, and Arts / Humanities); Applied Social Sciences Indexes and Abstracts (ASSIA) or the broader Social Sciences Collection (both Proquest).  Useful individual journals are available on Public Health and other topics, such as Lancet - Public Health, and Public Health.  Go to FindIt@Bham for access for University of Birmingham members.

See the section "Search and research: academic" in this guide for information on openly available and other material.

For Google Scholar, see our online guide.

Detailed references

'Michael Rosen', BBC News at 9 (2020)  BBC2 England, 12 October, 09:00. 60 mins. 00:41:59-00:57:05. Available at: Box of Broadcasts (Accessed 28 Oct 2020)

Why is Covid killing people of colour? (2021) London: BBC One, 2 March, 21:00. 59 mins. Available at: Box of Broadcasts; BBC iPlayer (Accessed 4 March 2021)

NB: links to Box of Broadcasts recordings require login with University of Birmingham or other institutional account and can only be viewed within the UK.


Covid-19 and Ethnicity

This section draws partly on the informative BBC page by Ashitha Nagesh (2020).  

The Birmingham and Lewisham African and Caribbean Health Inequalities Review (BLACHIR) is currently underway (2021), coordinated by Lewisham and Birmingham City Councils. 

Public Health England (2020) report on "Covid-19: Review of disparities in risks and outcomes".  This looked at the following areas: age and sex; where people live; deprivation; ethnicity; people's occupation; care home residence.

Commentaries on the report.

Winston Morgan (2020) of the University of East London has written a detailed piece in The Conversation:

The British Medical Association is very active in promoting the needs of its doctors.  The following is a piece by Consultants Committee member Sakkaf Ahmed Aftab (2020).

Dr Manish Pareek of Leicester University has been leading a "United Kingdom Research Study into Ethnicity and Covid-19 Outcomes in Healthcare workers (UK-REACH)" (Gogoi, M. et al., 2021).

Systematic review (Pan et al, 2020) published 3rd June in EClinicalMedicine (Lancet):

Bentley (2020), in the American Journal of Human Biology, surveys the impact of structural inequalities relating to ethnicity and Covid in the UK.

Citing Bentley (2020) and others is a later article looking at significant sociological perspectives on race, ethnicity, discrimination and exclusion in the UK (Karlsen and Nelson, 2021).

APM Research Lab (2020) has published figures and analysis in the USA:

JAMA has published a systematic review and meta-analysis carried out in the USA (Magesh et al., 2021):

Vaccinations. Razai et al. (2021) in the British Medical Journal discuss concerns and underlying reasons for a lower uptake of vaccinations against Covid-19 amongst minority communities in the UK.

Hussain et al. (2022) conducted a systematic review on vaccine hesitancy.

Other studies include:

Immigration, Migration, Refugees

Amnesty International UK (2020) on abuse of migrant workers and Covid-19 situation

Amnesty International (2020) on refugees and Covid-19

Guardian article (2020) on immigration detention in the UK and Covid-19

Institute for Research into Superdiversity, University of Birmingham (2020) project

Liberty (2020) civil rights body in the UK

  • Hostile Environment - immigration policy in the UK and the effects of legislation (particularly from 2012-)

Refugee Council (UK)

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) (UK)

Migration Observatory - Oxford University


Social Inequalities and Health

Albert (2020) Care home death rate falls but most COVID-19 fatalities are in England's care homes (overview from pages)

Azmanova (2020) Precarity, not inequality is what ails the 99% .(Financial Times: may require account; UoB users should sign up via FindIt for a free account)

Bibby, Everest and Abbs (2020) Will Covid-19 be a watershed moment for health inequalities?  (From the Health Foundation, an independent charity)

Niedzwiedz CL, O'Donnell CA, Jani BD, et al. Ethnic and socioeconomic differences in infection: prospective cohort study using UK Biobank. (PubMed Central open access article)

Office for National Statistics (2020) figures for weekly care home deaths (up to weekend ending 10 July 2020) England and Wales. Official government statistics)

Patel et al. (2020) Poverty, inequality and COVID-19: the forgotten vulnerable (open access article as of 04/06/20)

Public Health England: "Review of disparities ... " report pages (see also above on Covid-19 and Ethnicity)

Razai M. S., Osama T., McKechnie, D. G. J. and Majeed, A. (2021) 'Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy among ethnic minority groups', British Medical Journal, 372, n513. doi:10.1136/bmj.n513

Runnymede Trust on Race and Class (2020).


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