COVID-19 and race: Protecting data or saving lives?

This article uses the COVID-19 pandemic to demonstrate how our understanding of ethnic inequalities could be improved by greater use of algorithms that infer ethnic heritage from people's names.

Corresponding author:

Richard Webber, OriginsInfo Ltd, 3 Bisham Gardens, London N6 6DJ, UK. Email:

Why it is so difficult to talk about race?

There are two particular issues which we believe merit the attention of the market research sector. The first is understanding why it should be so difficult to engage in public discussion of the behaviors that characterize different ethnic groups. The second relates to evidence. In our experience, few public servants are as well supported as they would like to be with evidence of how different minority populations use the services they are responsible for delivering....

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