Georgia On My Mind: Family Protests Fatal Shooting While Distancing & Black Businesses Weigh Cost of Reopening

Plus, Black women take the lead, prisons remain top hot spots, racial disparities revealed in Brazil and the UK, health care workers throughout Africa speak out and more...

Speak Patrice Presents: Coronavirus News for Black Folks is an independent newsletter that aims to empower our community by sharing coronavirus (COVID-19) news and stories as they relate to the Black Diaspora.

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📰 Today’s Black Folks Bulletin: 54 links

  • 🔥Top Stories: 35

    1. Prisons Are Top Hotspots

    2. Denied Testing Time & Time Again

    3. Protesting During A Pandemic

    4. Georgia Reopens, But At Whose Expense?

    5. Prioritizing Environmental Equity

    6. Black Women Take The Lead

  • 🇺🇸National: 7

  • 🌍International: 9

  • 🎥Video: 3


1. Prisons Are Top Hotspots —

(While I’ve yet to come across prison data showing cases/deaths by race, incarcerated Black people constitute a disproportionate majority of U.S. prison and jail populations.)

In four U.S. state prisons, nearly 3,300 inmates test positive for coronavirus -- 96% without symptoms

Linda So and Grant Smith, Reuters

“‘We know mass testing is going to make our numbers spike and might make us look bad […]But I don’t think there’s another prison system in the country that doesn’t have large numbers.’”


Marion prison coronavirus outbreak seeping into larger community (OHIO)

New Model Shows Reducing Jail Population will Lower COVID-19 Death Toll for All of Us

Black female inmates and COVID-19: Medically compromised, vulnerable and neglected

Nick Charles, NBC News

“The vast majority of female inmates come from ‘marginalized communities where the health care was subpar at best, and it’s even worse whatever their fragilities are, and you layer on mental illness and autoimmune diseases among women […] These populations are medically compromised long before incarceration.’”

Overcrowded DRC prisons 'ticking time-bomb' for COVID-19 pandemic

Peter Yeung, Aljazeera

“Tiny amounts of food are provided for one meal a day, many are forced to sleep without shelter due to the lack of space in cells, and last month female prisoners resorted to using shreds of foam mattresses during their period because the prison had run out of sanitary supplies. ‘This is hell,’ said one prisoner…” 

2. Denied Testing Time & Time Again —

COVID-19 exposes mistrust, health care inequality going back generations for African Americans

Averi Harper, ABC News

“Folks are very good at gaslighting black folks, particularly black women, and making it seem as if we aren't experiencing what we know we're experiencing.”

Related: During COVID-19, Black Women Are Still Dying From Not Being Taken Seriously

Detroit health care worker dies after being denied coronavirus test 4 times, daughter says

Janelle Griffith, NBC News

“Corrothers said what bothers her most is that her mother was not treated well at the hospital where she worked for 31 years.”

Beloved Brooklyn teacher, 30, dies of coronavirus after she was twice denied a COVID-19 test

Arielle Mitropoulos and Mariya Moseley, ABC News

“‘Imagine if Zoe had received treatment consistent with the severity of her symptoms, rather than receiving treatment consistent with her origins.’”

3. Protesting During A Pandemic —

Coronavirus energizes the labor movement. Can it last?

Margot Roosevelt, The Los Angeles Times

“‘This crisis has been the glue for workers to come together, blue-collar and white-collar, not just union members. It sounds corny, but we’re moving towards a worker rebellion.’”


Pandemic Job Actions Offer Hope for Renewed Labor Movement

New York Attorney General Scrutinizes Amazon for Firing Warehouse Worker

Supporters launch a virtual campaign after fatal Brunswick shooting

Bert Roughton Jr., The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
This story isn’t directly related to the coronavirus disease or pandemic, however it does reveal the pandemic’s unique impact on social justice efforts and hate crimes. I highly recommend reading and sharing this story, which has been buried in the news cycle.

“Unable to take to the streets in the midst of a pandemic, community leaders here have taken to social media and are emailing and phoning officials to call attention to the case of Ahmaud Arbery.

Arbery, who was black, was shot to death Feb. 23 after being chased by two white men in a pickup truck through Satilla Shores, a middle-class subdivision outside Brunswick. He was 25.”

Related: What We Know About the Shooting Death of Ahmaud Arbery

Mainstream Media Needs To Ignore Those Who Want To Die And Focus On Those Who Want To Live

Michael Arceneaux, ESSENCE

“It’s not that many of them out there protesting. Polls have shown people believe in the stay at home orders. But if that is the case, why so much focus on these dumb white folks?”

Related: Aggressive, armed protesters stormed a state building last night and the police did nothing – imagine if black people had done the same

4. Georgia Reopens, But At Whose Expense? —

CDC: 80 Percent of Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients in Georgia Are African-American

Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

“According to exit polls, Kemp lost the African-American vote to Stacey Abrams by a 93/6 margin in the 2018 general election. He doesn’t have to be racist to devalue the interests of black Georgians in a pandemic, just amoral and cruelly pragmatic.”

Georgia’s Experiment in Human Sacrifice

Amanda Mull, The Atlantic

“In the grips of a pandemic, the approach is a morbid experiment in just how far states can push their people. Georgians are now the largely unwilling canaries in an invisible coal mine, sent to find out just how many individuals need to lose their job or their life for a state to work through a plague.”


Black leaders say reopening Georgia is an attack on people of color

Fear and mistrust in rural Georgia as Gov. Kemp urges the state to re-open

Black-owned businesses in Georgia struggle as the state reopens

Victor Blackwell, Angela Barajas and Theresa Waldrop, CNN

“While business owners can choose to keep their doors closed, some feel compelled to open because they haven't received any of the federal funds that were supposed to go to small businesses to help them continue to pay employees…”


Black Salon Owners In Georgia Are Split On Decision To Reopen Their Businesses

Open or Closed: Atlanta businesses discuss reopening plans after Georgia governor’s executive order

Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 (World Health Organization guide)

5. Prioritizing Environmental Equity —

First pollution, now coronavirus: Black parish in Louisiana deals with 'a double whammy' of death

Trymaine Lee, NBC News

“‘I have to go outside and breathe this air. It hurts. I'm telling you, it hurts so bad […] I pray every day, every night.’ And now the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has exacerbated the dire state of health in St. James and nearby St. John the Baptist parishes, which are among the 20 U.S. counties with the highest per-capita death rates from the coronavirus.”

‘A threat multiplier’: The hidden factors contributing to New York City’s coronavirus disparities

Rachel Ramirez, Grist

“The city’s data shows that a higher volume of cases are concentrated in neighborhoods with more environmental health hazards […] Major arterial highways, waste transfer facilities, power plants, and other polluting infrastructure create daily air quality challenges for residents of these neighborhoods — challenges that can take a cumulative toll on residents’ health, leading them to become more vulnerable in the face of a respiratory illness.”

Coronavirus Is Not Just a Health Crisis—It’s an Environmental Justice Crisis

Yvette Cabrera, Mother Jones

“…political scientist Fatemeh Shafiei, director of environmental studies at Spelman College, has studied the social conditions that determine a person’s health outcomes. She found a preponderance of evidence showing that, from cradle to grave, low-income residents and people of color are disproportionately exposed to health-threatening environments in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces.”

Related: Linking Air Pollution To Higher Coronavirus Death Rates

6. Black Women Take The Lead —

I Started a Support Group for Covid-19 Survivors and Caretakers

Christy DeGallerie, Zora

“Troubled by the fact that I’m still in self-isolation in pain with fluctuating symptoms and new ones lingering, I decided to join a support group to see if I was alone in my suffering. I wasn’t, which was great, but I still couldn’t relate to the members of the group, who were majority White […] So I started Black Health Support Group for Covid-19.”

Mother of Two Recovers From COVID-19, Becomes One of First Donors of Plasma Toward Antibody Treatment Effort

Nefeteria Brewster, The Atlanta Black Star

“The treatment regimen underlying the program is not billed as a direct way of ridding the body of the novel virus, but it has been regarded by doctors as a hopeful effort backed by science.”

What Black Women’s Histories Can Teach Us about Pandemics

Janell Hobson, Mrs.

“The story is twofold: Women as a demographic have been overburdened by the pandemic, but in leadership positions, they have proven to be more than capable and even exemplars. What the history books will say remains to be seen.”

‘Prisons Are No Place for a Pandemic:’ Advocates Fight to Free Their Loved Ones

Victoria Law @LVikkiml, Zora

“Women incarcerated at Framingham have no masks, are ordered to stay three instead of six feet apart, and are told to sleep head to foot. The only way to keep abreast of the pandemic is to apply for a pass to the prison law library, where newspapers are kept. But the women are currently locked into their cells for more than 23 hours each day…”

Afraid For Their Health And Lacking PPE, Black Homecare Workers Feel Left Behind In The COVID Pandemic

Breanna Edwards, ESSENCE

“She recalls when the lockdown first happened, and she was still deciding whether or not she should show up for work, one of her clients did not have food in her home, nor did the client have access to money at that moment. Washington took it upon herself to take money out of her own pocket to ensure the client had groceries, at least for a week or two, as guidelines were still being hashed out and as she made up her own mind.”

Related: “We Demand More” Coalition Is Pushing Economic and Social Relief for Women Most Impacted by the Pandemic

Moms 4 Housing Hosts International Solidarity Event

Zack Haber, Post News Group

“…the emergency was already here, especially for homeless men, women and children who are across the globe. At the same time we know there are many homes and buildings which lie empty…”



Covid-19 is ravaging one of the country's wealthiest black counties

Rachel Chason, Ovetta Wiggins, and John D. Harden, The Washington Post

“Despite the concentration of wealth and education in the county, there remain pockets of poverty, and officials have struggled to consistently attract the kind of development — including grocery stores and restaurants — that residents want.”


Infection control lapses, short staffing put senior care homes at risk

Carrie Teegardin and Brad Schrade, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“As Gov. Brian Kemp last week cited favorable data to support reopening Georgia’s economy, he also acknowledged that the coronavirus crisis was still waging a deadly assault inside long-term care facilities.”


A Pregnant Woman Tweeted Concerns About A Bronx Hospital. She Died Days Later.

Ese Olumhense, The City

“She sent what would be her final tweet that day. ‘Can’t wait to write a tell all about my experience during my last two trimesters dealing with incompetent doctors at Montefiore.’”

Grieving families outraged over NYC funeral home body-storage scandal

Bernadette Hogan, Georgett Roberts and Bruce Golding, New York Post

“‘They charged me $15,000 to lay my mother to rest, and what am I getting out of the $15,000?’ […] This is too much on humanity. I’m really hurt.’”


Texas reports record coronavirus deaths the day before stores open. But Gov. Greg Abbott sees hope in other metrics.

Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

“Texas appears to be skipping ahead on White House guidance that says state should wait to begin their reopening process until they see a 14-day downward trajectory in new cases or the infection rate. Texas has not met either of those criteria…”


Skylar Herbert, 5, mourned at funeral after giving 'a lifetime of love'

Sarah Rahal, The Detroit News

“Skylar's battle with COVID-19 began a month ago when she first complained of a bad headache […] She was put on a ventilator April 4, where she remained until she died on April 19.”


Younger blacks and Latinos are dying of COVID-19 at higher rates in California

Ben Poston, Tony Barboza, and Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, The Los Angeles Times

“Scott Blanks had asthma as a child but didn’t exhibit symptoms or require treatment as an adult. He died from COVID-19 last month.”

A nurse died from COVID-19. Her family says elite L.A. care home ordered her to admit a sick man

Harriet Ryan, LA Times

“The residence is part of a chain of high-end memory care centers that can cost families more than $15,000 a month for luxury touches...”



UK ethnic minorities suffer extra Covid deaths - think tank

William Schomberg, Reuters

“Per capita deaths for people in Britain who had black Caribbean heritage were three times that for British citizens who are white, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said.”



Healthcare workers across Africa share their coronavirus stories

Samira Sawlani, Aljazeera

Doctor in Bamenda, Cameroon: I learned about safety procedures online, however, many healthcare workers do not have access to the internet. Health workers also do not have access to priority testing - this is both dangerous to them and their patients. As I speak, official figures suggest at least five doctors have died of the 44 deaths related to COVID-19.


Hunted by a virus, ignored by government

Shobhan Saxena, The Hindu

“According to a study by the Faculty of Medical Sciences, blacks living in Sao Paulo ‘have a 62% greater chance of dying from COVID-19 than whites.’”


Coronavirus claims another 13 lives in the Dominican Republic

Dominican Today

“…bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 326, the Ministry of Public Health reported this Saturday morning. The institution reported that the number of people infected with Covid-19 increased by 290...”


This Woman Got A Visit From The Police After Posting A Video About Racism In China

J. Lester Feder, BuzzFeed News

“BuzzFeed News has spoken with multiple Africans in China who were visited by police after sharing videos of harassment or abuse […] These interviews show that Chinese police are closely monitoring the social media of black people in the country...”


South Africa begins to gradually ease coronavirus lockdown

Michelle Gumede, AFP

“President Cyril Ramaphosa took the decision to stagger the easing of the lockdown restrictions in a bid to strike a balance between protecting public health and the economy. ‘Our people need to eat. They need to earn a living’...”


‘Many Students Are Being Left Behind’ - COVID-19 Ignites Need For Nat’l Distance Learning Policy

Albert Ferguson, The Gleaner

“We are concerned that we are not getting to a significant number of students, and it has to do with the fact that many of them don’t have data (Internet access). They live in areas that access to the Internet is unreliable.”


Tanzanian Cartoonist Has a Stick for Every Powerful Eye

Abdi Latif Dahir, The New York Times

“As African worries about the disease have escalated in recent weeks, Gado, whose real name is Godfrey Mwampembwa, has taken to producing cartoons that are cutting and inventive but also instructional and informative. ‘I kept thinking, ‘How am I going to contribute to educating the masses?’”


Senegal trials begin for $1 COVID-19 test kit

Nicolas Haque, Al Jazeera

“It costs a dollar and gives results in 10 minutes.”

Couple Blocked from Entering Chinese Maternity Hospital Releases Audio of Chinese Officials Asking Them to Deny Discrimination, Declare Government Treated Them Well

David Love, Atlanta Black Star

'I would never change it for anything': Inside the life of a Covid-19 tester (South Africa)


“For Bhelekazi Mdlalose, nursing is more than just a job, it is a passion.”


Are you a Black essential worker? Are you on the front line of the pandemic? Would you like to share your story for a potential feature in the newsletter? 

Submit your story.

Not an essential worker? We still want to hear from you! Do you have an interesting story to tell about life during the pandemic? 

Submit your story.


Not gonna lie. Getting through all of today’s stories wasn’t easy, especially the Georgia stories where residents revealed feeling like guinea pigs in their white governor’s potentially deadly experiment— a governor who has been accused of suppressing the Black vote to win his seat.

Also, thank you to Shai and Carrie for having me on your Race, Health & COVID-19 panel this past weekend. The recording comes out soon, so I’ll share that with y’all when it’s up.

Stay safe and take care ✊🏿💗

— Patrice Peck

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