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The Covid race riddle defies skin-deep simplicities

Even scientists are not beyond leaping to unfounded assumptions of innate racial difference. When it comes to Covid-19, the truth is much more complex

By Angela Saini   July 2020

Risks on the frontline: ethnic minorities make up almost half of NHS medical staff. Photo: Ben Cawthra/Shutterstock

On 8th February, in the early days of the pandemic, a far-right American website posted the headline: “STILL No Non-Chinese Deaths from coronavirus.” It claimed that Chinese people were so biologically exceptional that a virus originating in Wuhan couldn’t possibly infect white people in Europe, even if it reached that far. This nugget of nonsense barely survived a month before being comprehensively debunked by the spread of Covid-19 through Italy and then…

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