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An Open Letter To The Black Community: Coronavirus Is No Respecter Of Ethnicity

By Yvonne Sam
Contributing Columnist

Yvonne Sam -- newCOVID-19, Coronavirus, “Cora” or “Rona”, as some of you are calling it, is a killer, and it will kill you. Straight up, the virus is no respecter of age, stage, city or ethnicity.

I am deeply saddened, when I hear folks spouting off that Black people cannot get the coronavirus, or believing the conspiracy theories and myths that abound on the Internet. You may hold the belief that “black never crack”, or that “rona” should step back, and leave the blacks, as the virus is not for us, but I implore you, please stop the madness. Why you believe that you are immune to coronavirus, is totally beyond me.

Although human-to-human transmission has been confirmed, little is known about this new virus, as the strain has not been previously identified in humans. In no way is melanin vibranium, nor the world of the fictional universe, Wakanda, immune.

Just for the record, people in 19 African countries have already tested positive for the virus, and they are certainly Black. Recently, two African-American NBA basketball players have both tested positive for the coronavirus, and several cases, even death, have been reported in Caribbean countries, thereby sticking a pin in any theory that Black people are immune to the disease.

There is no scientific evidence that the coronavirus is vulnerable at any temperature, similar to the claims of earlier centuries that diseases, like yellow fever, could not survive in tropical conditions or in tropical people, were either overblown or flat-out false. Nevertheless the memes continue.

Although some may contend that the jokes about Blacks are innocuous, history has revealed how unproven claims, about race-based resilience to disease, have led to disastrous outcomes.

There is no magical pill or pigmentation that will stop you from getting COVID-19, if you come in contact with someone, who is infected with the virus

Beyond climate and geography, ideas about race and health powers continued to flourish throughout the 18th century, among white medical professionals taking as gospel, declarations that black skin was thicker than white skin, which emboldened doctors to experiment on black bodies.

There were very real moments in history, where African-Americans were believed to be immune, and they was not. In fact, the impact of such beliefs still affects how blacks are medically treated, or not.

To set the record straight I am not referring to skin color. Plainly put, I am referring to identity.

If you are African, living anywhere in the world, including the continent, Afro Canadian, Afro American, biracial, mixed, or any category of Black, read my lips – there is no magical pill or pigmentation that will stop you from getting COVID-19, if you come in contact with someone, who is infected with the virus.

Even if you believe that you do not have it, you may already be infected and could, unknowingly, spread the virus that may not be fatal to you, but could be to others. This is called asymptomatic.

My point is that the virus will kill you and other Black people, so wash your hands and stay away from others, outside of your home, as much as possible, especially older folks. Follow the directives given by the government and health authorities.

If you have not done it before, now is the time to practice self-care. Remember, there is no conspiracy theory, Black people can, and are dying from this virus. Coronavirus is real and we all should be vigilant in adhering to guidelines and mandates, to prevent the spread of this deadly virus, especially to our most vulnerable populations.

Aleuta — the struggle continues.

Yvonne Sam, a retired Head Nurse and Secondary School Teacher, is Vice-president of the Guyana Cultural Association of Montreal. A regular columnist for over two decades with the Montreal Community Contact, her insightful and incursive articles on topics ranging from politics, human rights and immigration, to education and parenting have also appeared in the Huffington Post, Montreal Gazette, XPressbogg and Guyanese OnLine. She is also the recipient of the Governor General of Canada Caring Canadian Citizen Award.

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