Dr Ronx on Is Covid Racist, Channel 4

Is Covid Racist? Channel 4 coronavirus documentary divides viewers

The programme was hosted by Dr Ronx Ikharia

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Is Covid Racist? aired on Channel 4 last night and investigated why so many NHS workers who died during the coronavirus pandemic were from Black, Asian and minority (BAME) ethnic groups.

The documentary, shown on Monday (November 23), saw A&E medic Dr Ronx take viewers through the heartbreaking stories of some of the frontline workers who lost their lives to COVID-19.

Is Covid Racist? aired on Channel 4 last night (Credit: Channel 4)

What was Channel 4’s Is Covid Racist? about?

Dr Ronx also asked what is being done to protect frontline BAME staff, in light of the losses from the first wave of the pandemic.

They said on the programme: “Tragically, over 200 frontline NHS healthcare workers have now died, but something disturbing has been happening – two thirds of those healthcare workers who have died have been from Black and minority ethnic groups.”

Read more: Christmas: How to make it COVID-safe for you and your family

On Twitter, the documentary sparked a debate among those watching at home.

Some branded the idea of the virus being racist “ridiculous”, while others called it “nonsense programming”.

Dr. Ronx hosted Channel 4’s Is Covid Racist? (Credit: Channel 4)

How did viewers react to the coronavirus documentary?

One said: “I wonder who is responsible for #iscovidracist? What a ridiculous title for a programme…”

A second tweeted: “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more ridiculous, you can always rely on Channel 4 to take it that step further with their nonsense programming #iscovidracist.”

A third said: “#iscovidracist I think its THE most ridiculous title of any documentary I have every seen, absolutely pathetic title, I cannot emphasise the amount of stupidity in the title enough.”

Tragically, over 200 frontline NHS healthcare workers have now died, but something distributing has been happening.

A fourth put: “Now on BBC2 we have the excellent #Hospital showing how COVID-19 affected the daily life of one of the biggest hospitals in the UK, while Channel 4 are peddling their usual race-bait crap with #IsCovidRacist.”

“Just saw #iscovidracist,” said a fifth. “What a load of crap, COVID gets anyone, black or white, young or old, man or woman.”

“What is this utter crap on Channel 4 #IsCovidRacist,” someone else demanded.


Channel 4 viewers thank Dr Ronx for ‘important’ programme

However, others defended the doc, highlighting the importance of the point it was making.

“It’s a programme about humanity; about frontline NHS staff who like soldiers in a war gave their lives for the rest of us,” said one.

“A really interesting documentary, making an important point,” said another.

“Thanks @Dr_Ronx for making this powerful and thought-provoking documentary #iscovidracist,” said a third. “It was heartbreaking to see the inequalities that led to so many unnecessary deaths in our BAME communities.

Some viewers praised Is Covid Racist? (Credit: Channel 4)

Another tweeted: “#iscovidracist Heartbreaking, difficult watch. Important expose of NHS inequality handed out to BAME staff. Disproportionately high death rates of BAME NHS staff. Thank you @Dr_Ronx for making this programme.”

“#iscovidracist ? Yes, according to officials, Black and Asian people are more likely to get it,” someone else said.

“#iscovidracist is a deliberately polemical title which rightly spotlights the imbalance of poverty in BAME communities,” said one. “But in less highly BAME populated areas in UK such as Scotland it could just as easily been #iscovidaffectingpoorestworst. And indeed it does.”

Dr Ronx calls for government action

Dr Ronx said at the end of the programme: “COVID in itself as a virus is not racist, but what it has done is demonstrate that there are racial biases in this country that have existed and been neglected and ignored – and people from BAME backgrounds are scared.”

Read more: Lockdown restrictions: Full list of businesses reopening when it lifts on December 2

They added: “We clap for our NHS but we are not doing enough to protect those who prop it up.”

Dr Ronx also demanded that the Government acknowledge there have been “failings” and do something to make things better and safer for BAME people in the future.

ED! contacted Channel 4 about the criticism and a spokesperson said: “The title of the programme was carefully considered and, as we hope you saw from the programme, it speaks to the ultimate questions raised in the film by Dr Ronx, an NHS Emergency doctor, as to whether institutional and systematic racism has contributed to the high number of BAME NHS Frontliners deaths during the pandemic.”

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