IT was good to read Arun Arora’s article (Echo, April 1) paying tribute to the immigrant doctors, nurses and other health and social care workers, especially those who have died from coronavirus while striving to save the lives of others.

Arun refers to a counter-demonstration against a “small mob of racists” in Durham in 2017. I met Arun on that demo, and asked him, “Didn’t you used to write a column for the Northern Echo? He said, “Yes, but that was years ago!”

I’m glad he’s back!

That “mob of racists” were from the so-called “football lads alliance” – a splinter group from the English Defence League – and a group calling itself “Bishop Auckland Against Islam.” The name itself is an incitement to hatred. Imagine the outcry if it had been “Bishop Auckland against Judaism.”

What Arun didn’t mention is that all of the NHS doctors who have died (at the time of writing) were Muslims.

In general, this crisis has brought out the best of us, with neighbours, friends and community groups offering help and support. But it has also enticed a vicious minority out of the woodwork.

Abuse directed at people who appear to be Chinese has spiked across the world. Online, ancient anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have resurfaced on the far-right, from claims that Jews “invented” coronavirus, to allegations that the virus is a bio-weapon funded by Holocaust survivor and philanthropist George Soros.

This harks back to medieval times, when Jews were blamed for the “Black Death”, and many Jews survived the plague only to be massacred afterwards.

Have these hateful people learned nothing? Regardless of race or nationality, we must work together to overcome this crisis.

Pete Winstanley, Durham.