Covid 19 and ACB Communities

May 5, 2020

Since the untimely arrival of Covid 19, the updates seem to be coming in non-stop and in real time. This increases the curiosity on data being collected in Canada during this global pandemic. When we take a closer look at our neighbors in United States of America, at least 29 states have released the racial demographics of confirmed coronavirus cases and death rates, according to the COVID Racial Data Tracker. The tracker, a collaboration between The Atlantic’COVID Tracking Project and the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, has been developed to track, analyze, and regularly update racial data on the pandemic within the United States. On a daily basis, black people are dying at huge numbers, causing vicarious trauma to individuals who have experienced a long history of mass deaths. The number of these losses may remind these communities of all the lives we lost to HIV/AIDS pandemic.

 It is particularly important for African/Caribbean/Black (ACB) communities to be critical and analyze all information received, regarding transmission of the virus. Misleading information has been spreading throughout various social media platforms.  Fact checking is a practice that must be followed at this time. Starting with demystifying a popular myth that the corona virus doesn’t affect ACB communities due to their skin’s melanin.  The misconception of this false information made some Black folks believe that they are indeed immune from the virus.  Some folks continue to refuse to wear gloves, masks and use social distancing precautions increasing their risk tremendously. What also doesn’t help is that some of this false information has spread all over the world. We look at the current situation in China. It has been reported that all Black people in China are being accused of spreading the virus. Many black people in China have now been displaced and being refused all services including housing and healthcare.

One of the biggest factors ACB communities may be hit hardest by the virus in comparison to other ethnic groups may also stem from a historical mistrust with the healthcare system.  Because of this, ACB folks are less likely to seek a doctor over a health condition because of racial bias. ACB communities should be encouraged to get in touch with trusted community health workers, faith-based organizations and nonprofit organizations to get adequate and accurate information and resources about protecting themselves and their families.

In conclusion, I encourage ACB communities to listen to their bodies and we are aware that some of these places are triggering for folks, it’s important that they get tested. 

Covid 19 Community Resources: 

Ontario Covid 19 Self Assessment Tool 

Hamilton Public Health Services – Covid 19 Assessment Centres

Halton Region Covid 19 Information (including testing availability)

Brant County Health Unit Covid 19 Information (including testing availability)