The Pandemic of Anti-Blackness

By Lorin Jackson

From PHN Issue 44, Fall 2020

“These are hard times for Black America,” Lecia Brooks and Eric K. Ward write in an article for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Black communities are disproportionately devastated by COVID-19—one in 500 of us is projected to die from the virus by January 1—along with police violence and criminalization, wage inequities, healthcare disparities, environmental toxins, and hate crimes.”

COVID-19 and anti-Blackness go hand-in-hand. Anti-Blackness is a pandemic and has been for many years. As with COVID-19, anti-Blackness is a global phenomenon that impacts the well-being of Black people.

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Promoting Mental Wellness in the Time of Coronavirus

By Rosa Friedman

From PHN Issue 42, Spring 2020

Being locked up is difficult enough under normal circumstances, and right now circumstances are far from normal. You may be experiencing a wide range of emotions, like loneliness due to lack of contact with peers and visits from loved ones, helplessness and anger at not being able to protect yourself, or numbness at the unrelenting nature of this crisis. You might shift dramatically between moods with little
warning, or have more thoughts about or symptoms related to other traumatic experiences. Whatever you’re feeling, remember there’s no wrong way to react to what’s happening. It’s normal to feel ungrounded, helpless, or just “off” in such an unusual situation, one where there’s so much uncertainty and powerlessness. It’s also normal to feel extra calm, especially if you’ve been through a lot of crises before. What’s important is to focus on what’s within your control and to do what you can to
care for yourself, mentally as well as physically. Here are some ways to practice selfcare during this difficult time:

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If You’re Having Symptoms of COVID-19

By Suzy Subways

From PHN Issue 42, Spring 2020

Most people with COVID-19 have no symptoms, or their symptoms are mild. But some have:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing, in severe cases

In an article for Prison Legal News, Michael D. Cohen, M.D., explains that people in prison who are over 50 may be at higher risk for severe symptoms. There is currently no vaccine or cure for COVID-19. Scientists have started testing some possible medicines, but they don’t know if these will work yet. It’s important to ignore rumors and just get health information from reliable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization.

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How to Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19

By Lorin Jackson and Frankie Snow

From PHN Issue 42, Spring 2020

Handwashing

Handwashing can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here are some tips for handwashing:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Make sure you rub all hand surfaces with soap, including thumbs, fingertips, and backs of hands.
  • Dry with a paper towel if possible, and use that to turn the water off.
  • Always wash your hands before and after eating, and after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, or being in a crowded area.
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains 70% alcohol or more.
  • It is believed that the virus enters the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
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What’s Up with COVID-19?: Here’s the Scoop

By Lorin Jackson and Frankie Snow

From PHN Issue 42, Spring 2020

As of April 30:

  • There are more than 3.25 million cases confirmed worldwide, with roughly a million incidents of recovery from the disease, and almost a quarter million have died.
  • In the United States, there are about a million cases, with almost 130,000 recovered and more than 60,000 deaths.
  • The United States has more recorded deaths than any other country. One possible reason is that there is not a coordinated national or regional effort to test people and track cases to contain outbreaks.
  • Congregate settings, such as nursing homes, detention centers, prisons/jails, and homeless shelters are extremely vulnerable to massive outbreaks of COVID-19 and account for some of the spikes in cases. This is because it is difficult to properly quarantine and maintain physical distancing in these settings.
  • As of mid-April 2020 in New York City, the NYC Department of Correction said that 369 inmates tested positive out of more than 3,900 in custody at Rikers Island and smaller facilities.
  • As of April 29, more than 70% of people incarcerated in federal prisons who have been tested for COVID-19 had the virus.
  • Chicago’s Cook County Jail is one of the largest and most impacted jails. More than 800 people had tested positive by April 28, and it had one of the highest infection rates in the country. In April, activists held a two-day emergency bailout where more than 130 people were able to leave the jail.
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