Are we facing a Second Wave?
The world psyche revolves around the coronavirus as stories of death, economic destruction, and glimpses of inspirational individuals continue to cover the news headlines.
As the numbers of covers have begun to rise again, the data for the South Asian community does not look rosy. South Asians are five times more likely to get coronavirus than white people. Numerous reports have shown that BAME communities have a much higher chance of dying from coronavirus than white people.
The debate as to why and how continues, as South Asians living in larger family bubbles and many facing the inequalities of economic and social hardships are the easy justifications for the figures. But one cannot ignore the neglect of social distancing and the wearing of masks in some of the urban areas where figures are rising.
The appalling behaviour of crowds celebrating Pakistani Independence Day in Manchester is an example of how things can quickly be out of control with the police unable to deal with the situation. Whilst the hooligans may gloat in pushing the police officers out of their area, it does not help to fight the coronavirus and grossly unfair on the law-abiding Pakistani community who celebrated indoors in the safety of Government guidelines.
Similarly, in many places of worship and local corner shops, people are not adhering to the guidelines, and organisers and community leaders need to get their act together and start leading by example.
It is astonishing that with so many people suffering and dying, there are people out there who refuse to wear a mask in local shops. If we all followed the rules, there is hope, and we can fight back and avoid a second wave. With winter approaching, the darkness, the cold, and flu are going to be added challenges to local communities. We need to be vigilant and disciplined.
It is good to see that the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has produced videos providing health advice in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Punjabi to help reduce the impact of coronavirus on London’s South Asian communities.
The Mayor’s deputy for business Rajesh Agrawal delivered the Hindi version with an initial introduction from Sadiq Khan. The underlying message in all the videos is the use of face masks, observe social distancing and regular hand washing.
Is there hope? There was when the Oxford University – AstraZeneca vaccine trials were progressing at a breath-taking pace. But one death has halted the trials in the UK as well as the USA, Brazil, South Africa and India. It is envisaged that the UK will resume the trials, although it is unclear the plight of the other participating countries.
On a similar note, the NHS is desperately urging South Asian communities to donate their blood plasma as they are likely as likely to have enough antibodies for their donations to be used in life-saving treatment trials, compared to white people. Our communities should do all they can to help the NHS and Government to combat the virus. On the other hand, the far-right is using the coronavirus as an excuse to bash the BAME communities, especially the Chinese community as the number of hate crimes shoots up.
The coronavirus offshoot narratives are something out of a soap opera, but the only difference here is that it is very real and the human race cannot boast that it is winning... far from it!