Category: Coronavirus

Beyond the Virus – Multidisciplinary and International Perspectives on Inequalities Raised by COVID-19


Dr Adrienne Yong & Dr Sabrina Germain, City Law School

Beyond the Virus book cover

Originally published on the Social & Legal Studies blog

In late 2020, after the world had endured several lockdowns due to the unprecedented spread of a novel deadly virus, COVID-19 was front and centre in the minds of many academics. Importantly, this was not limited to just those in the medical profession, nor just those interested in biomedical sciences. The pandemic and its effects were of academic interest to most disciplines, including law, politics and other social sciences. As sociolegal scholars with an interest in justice in healthcare (Germain) and immigration and intersectionality (Yong), the pandemic piqued our curiosity because of its impact on widening existing inequalities for some of the most vulnerable in society in range of different areas. With a burning desire to publish an edited collection that would be an important contribution to a burgeoning area of literature, we set off to harness the expertise of a wider group of authors, doing cutting edge work in areas that were not just about the medical effects of the virus itself.

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Ethnic minority and migrant women’ struggles in accessing healthcare during COVID-19: an intersectional analysis

Sabrina Germain & Adrienne Yong

In their recent published article in the interdisciplinary Journal for Cultural Research, Dr Sabrina Germain & Dr Adrienne Yong (Senior Lecturers at The City Law School) shine a spotlight on an area of the recent COVID-19 pandemic that has arguably been overshadowed throughout this public health crisis – the effect the pandemic has had on access to healthcare for women at the intersection of their ethnic minority status and gender, and their migration status and gender. Focusing on two distinct groups of women – ethnic minority women, and migrant women – Germain and Yong apply the theory of intersectionality coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw to investigate barriers to accessing healthcare in the United Kingdom as they have been particularly exacerbated by the pandemic.

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Canada’s Treatment of Migrant Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Y.Y. Brandon Chen (University of Ottawa), Julia Chung (University of Ottawa) & Hannah Duhme (University of Ottawa)

This post is the third in a series of blog posts on COVID-19 and inequalities from a multidisciplinary and international perspective. A work-in-progress symposium on 9-10 June 2021 on the forthcoming edited collection tentatively titled as above is under contract with Bristol University Press sits within the Bristol Studies in Law and Social Justice Series.

The COVID-19 pandemic in Canada has affected racialized migrant populations disproportionately. Like many high-income countries, Canada depends heavily on migrant workers to perform essential services, including inside health and long-term care facilities, on the farms, and in food-processing plants. While attending to such essential work during the pandemic increases migrant workers’ risk of exposure to COVID-19, government policies have largely fallen short of what is required to mitigate these risks.

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Face mask rules: do they really violate personal liberty?

Gwilym David Blunt, City, University of London

This post is the second in a series of blog posts on COVID-19 and inequalities from a multidisciplinary and international perspective. A work-in-progress symposium on 9-10 June 2021 on the forthcoming edited collection tentatively titled as above is under contract with Bristol University Press sits within the Bristol Studies in Law and Social Justice Series.

Several hundred people assembled in London’s Hyde Park in July 2020 to protest rules making face masks mandatory in shops and supermarkets to help control the spread of COVID-19. This was not an isolated event. Similar protests have occurred in many places around the world in reaction to the prospect of “mask mandates” – especially in the United States.

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Street Space and Taxis During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Lynne Townley and Tony Ostrin

The taxi or black cab has from time immemorial has been part of the London transport scene.  They are permitted to use all available road space, including bus lanes.  The current pandemic has motivated the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) to create a policy resulting in traffic plan and traffic orders limiting the amount of road space available for vehicles.  The result of these orders has been to restrict taxis from using road space (including bus lanes) in two areas of central London that were previously available to them.

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Justice and Profit in Health Care Law: A Comparative Analysis of the United States and United Kingdom

Sabrina Germain

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with yet another example of the moral significance of health care resources in our societies. The indisputable seriousness of health care needs makes the distribution of health care resources stand out from any other good and mandates that it follows principles of justice. Unfortunately, even before the public health crisis generated by the spread of COVID-19, available resources were already out of sync with modern societies’ needs. Even though political philosophers had developed multiple models to justly allocate scarce resources, problems of availability and access to care remained major challenges. One may ask whether it was a mismatch between the theory and the practice of law making that was responsible for failing health care systems; or was it that ideas of justice did not informed the decisions of actors involved in the crafting of health care laws?

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Coronavirus shows how hard it is for ethnic minority and migrant women to access healthcare

Adrienne Yong and Sabrina Germain

We were told at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic that the virus did not discriminate. But the truth is that COVID-19 has brought to light the structural inequalities in healthcare that have existed for decades.

In the UK, people from an ethnic minority background are more likely to die from COVID-19 than white people. And during the first wave of the pandemic, the increased in overall deaths rates from all causes was higher among migrants than among people born in the UK.

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