A survey on the impact of Covid-19 on residents in north Croydon has revealed inequality, distrust in the government and heartbreaking stories of lives lost.
There were staggeringly high levels of dissatisfaction with the Government’s handling of the pandemic, including widespread confusion about how to access tests and accounts of people not being able to say goodbye to their loved ones.
The survey findings make grim reading with one participant accusing the government of having ‘blood on their hands’ for moving too slow to begin the first lockdown.
Now after coming out of the second lock down just two weeks ago London is being moved in to Tier Three as it emerged cases are rising in every borough, and there is a new second wave peak in infections. In Croydon in the week to December 8, there were 763 cases, up 200 (35.5 per cent) with a rate of 197.3.
New curbs come into force in the capital from midnight today (Wednesday) including the possible closure of schools and non-essential shops.
MP Steve Reed undertook the survey of 114 people in his constituency after the first lock down with respondents across all ethnicities saying they felt the Government was too slow to act, had failed to adopt and implement a coherent strategy and adequately communicate with the public.
One respondent said: “I am completing this survey on behalf of my late mum. She died at home on 26th March, after self-isolating with symptoms of Covid-19, in line with government and NHS guidelines. On 26th March, my sister tried and failed three times to get through to 999 services for an ambulance. By the time she did get through, my Mum had already died. We firmly believe that if the government had imposed the lockdown earlier, my Mum and thousands of others like her, may still be alive.”
The MP’s constituency is in the top one per cent of most ethnically diverse in the country and also one of the poorest.
The survey was conducted to understand better how the virus has affected people based on their ethnic background and the findings have been presented to Baroness Doreen Lawrence’s inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.
The findings were striking with BAME participants reporting higher levels of mental-distress, were more likely to be living in over-crowded housing, and were less comfortable speaking with their employers than their white counterparts.
Covid-19 has been incredibly hard for everyone, but it has disproportionately affected those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Above all, says the MP this report shows that the story of COVID-19 isn’t just a health crisis, but a crisis of inequality.
The data shows that people’s pre-existing problems linked to inequality, were made worse; and the most vulnerable, such as those in insecure work, physically ill or living in overcrowded accommodation, were disproportionately affected.
The MP added: “ We needed a Government with a clear strategy to lead us through this crisis. But that leadership was lacking. The disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities is because of the structural inequalities that BAME communities face. This inequality predates Covid-19, and if we are serious about building back better after this traumatic national experience then eliminating the deep-rooted inequality in our society must be a priority.”
To read the full report visit: https://www.stevereedmp.co.uk/covid-survey/