With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the disease itself and the subsequent response from policymakers magnifies the inherent systemic and structural disparities faced by Black women across the globe. Global health pandemics historically have ravaged all communities of color due to structural marginalization. However, Black women, in particular, have consistently been most affected due to combined gender and racial bias. The impact of COVID-19 on Black women follows the trend of other health crises specifically maternal mortality, and HIV/AIDS which continues to have alarming infection and mortality rates for Black Women in the US, as well as adolescent girls and young women in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Black women play frontline roles within the labor force: for instance, as community health workers particularly for the elderly, service industry staff in grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, and food delivery. In these settings, we lack personal protective equipment and are also primary caregivers at home and in healthcare settings. Coupled with the reality that we have alarming rates of pre-existing illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart disease, and have limited quality healthcare coverage, the COVID-19 pandemic is a compounded situation, especially in light of racial undercurrents.