As the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to ravage the globe and cases exploded rapidly, countries have been presented with challenging policy choices to contain the spread of COVID-19. Despite this representing a global effort; each country had a different response to the pandemic. For example, some countries such as China and South Africa elected to immediately close the national economy and apply strict and punishable rules on traditional public health measures (e.g., social distancing, masking, isolation and quarantine) 1. In contrast, others countries, including the United States, opted for more loose public health recommendations. Although research has found that public health interventions and non-pharmaceutical control measures have been effective in mitigating transmission of COVID-19, the differential timing of lockdown measures, including closing non-essential industries and limiting in-person capacity, may have significant social and economic implications 2,3. One of the potential concerns is how the COVID-19 pandemic has differentially affected populations as it appears that the burden was not borne equal. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a wave of panic across the world. According to John Hopkins University, COVID-19 has taken the life of 4,310,354 people across the globe with 26,633 deaths in Canada alone, as of August 10th 2021 4. The COVID-19 pandemic has added a new stratum to the debate concerning the root causes of racial health disparities. The effects of COVID-19 has been shown to be linked to stuctural violence and/or racism 5. The British and American governments have acknowledged that a large proportion of their COVID-19 patients and deaths are from African descent. Due to the discrimination and oppression suffered by racialized groups such as black communities, it is reported that in England, Black people were more than 4 times likely to die from the corona virus than their white counterparts 5,6. Similarly, an analysis by the Washington Post reports that in the United States, counties with Black majorities have three times the rate of covid-19 cases, and almost six times the rate of deaths, compared with counties where white residents are in the majority 7.
Multiple researchers have misattributed the morbidity and mortality disparities observed in England and America to the high prevalence of chronic disease in Black communities 8,9. Multinational data has reported poor outcomes for individuals over 65, and/or with underlying health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and compromised immune systems 10.
The association between COVID-19 and pre-existing illness is especially troubling for Black individuals who are genetically misconceived as more likely to develop chronic comorbidities because they are Black 11.
Many social determinants of health—including Anti-Black racism, intersectional violence (including sexism, heterosexism, classism, ageism, refugee status, among others), poverty, physical environment (e.g., smoke exposure, homelessness), and race and ethnicity —can have a considerable effect on COVID-19 outcomes. Homeless families are at higher risk of viral transmission because of crowded living spaces and scarce access to COVID-19 screening and testing facilities 12.
Individuals who exist as targets of systemic inequities are not only more susceptible to contracting COVID-19, but they are also more likely to bear the greatest extent of the subsequent economic pandemic 13.
There is a need for data collection that specifically focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on the lives and health of African/Black communities nationally and globally in order to develop intersectional, culturally-relative, anti-racist/anti-oppression, empowerment-centered interventions and social policies that increase more efficient ways to support heterogeneous African/Black communities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Canada and globally, the collection of race based data on COVID-19 is important to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of African/Black people and its historical and current day context 14.
In most African countries, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging due to continued colonial impacts, which lead to distrust in government, social, cultural and religious resistance 15. The COVID-19 global pandemic has exposed the world inequities and the racially based colonial demarcations with the North/South as main geographical and sociological anchors 16. In Brazil, the failure of the neoliberal government to protect the Black and Indigenous populations mostly exposed to COVID-19 infection, has created the emergence of a new form of solidarity and mutual aid in "favelas" and Indigenous communities 17.
The purpose of this scoping review is to employ a decolonizing, African feminist, Black resistance lens to examine the impact of COVID-19 on heterogeneous and intersectional Black communities in Canada and throughout the world; while also exploring the various forms of resistance that Black communities have established and employed during the global pandemic. Therefore, this review will attempt to answer the question as to how COVID-19 is impacting African/Black communities nationally and globally and what interventions are effective to prevent, treat, and reduce the impact of COVID-19 on these communities?
The primary objective is to: 1) investigate the impact of COVID-19 on African/Black individuals, communities, front line health care workers, and essential service workers; 2)explore how systemic/structural violence are barriers to effective prevention, treatment and management of COVID-19 in the African/Black population; and 3)understand how anti-black racism and intersectional violence (violence related to race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disabilities, language, educational attainment, immigration status and social determinants of health) impact the health of African/Black communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The secondary objective of the review is to identify intervention strategies to respond effectively to the impact of COVID-19 on African/Black individuals, communities, front line health service workers, and essential service workers in Canada and transnationally.
Our primary outcomes are the impact of COVID-19 on African/Black individuals, front line health care workers and essential service workers, the effect of systemic and structural barriers on prevention and treatment management on these communities and the effect of social determinants of health (SDOH) as well as the intersection of gender, sexual orientation, age, disabilities, language, immigration status, among other intersectional factors, on the COVID-19 pandemic in these communities.