About the Categories

A number of timelines about COVID-19 already exist online. As far as we could find, there aren’t any timelines that approach the impact of and the response to COVID-19 through an intersectional lens. From our view, there is a connected narrative of impact that accompanies every story about state response to vulnerability and struggle. 

This timeline is visually presented on an open source timeline software tool called JS KnightLab. We are grateful to the team that created this platform and continue to improve on expand its functionality. And, like many platforms, it is limited in its ability to customize or to assign timeline points to multiple categories. This means, when you look at the timeline, you will see complex experiences, like the resistance of a hunger strike at an ICE detention center, turned into a single category. 

The categories we are using for the timeline are: 

  • Public Health: This refers to the politicization of public health, the public health infrastructure, the public health response to the virus, and rates of infection and death.
  • Prison Industrial Complex: This refers to the prison industrial complex. For this timeline, we are using it for dates and ranges of time referring to prisons or immigrant detention centers.
  • Xenophobia: This refers to xenophobia and we lift it particularly in this timeline, and separate it from racism although they are related, because from the beginning of this pandemic, anti-Asian xenophobia has defined how the coronavirus is understood and responded to. We also sometimes include other anti-immigrant actions within this category.
  • Racism: This refers to racism and white supremacy. We use it to refer to a range of impacts that affect Black, Indigenous & People of Color, including effects of structural racism. We also name essential workers in this section, if disproportionately affecting workers of color.  
  • Economics: This refers to the economics of the virus. We include in this everything from labor organizing and response to the corporate response and protections to how wealth and poverty are impacted by the pandemic. This also refers to global economic forces.
  • Healthcare: This refers to the healthcare system, the infrastructure of private and public healthcare systems including hospitals, clinics and nursing homes, as well as healthcare workers.
  • Vaccination: This refers to the work towards creating a vaccine and includes material on Big Pharma as well as material on vaccine distribution and equity. 

Many of these categories could be cross-listed with the others. What we don’t include, because it would overwhelm this format, are categories on the militarization of the pandemic, the environmental impact, the gendered impact, and ongoing resistance to state inaction and/or the assertion of local care practices. And although stories of resistance and intervention are present here on the timeline, we also do not include them in any specific categories based on limitations of the platform at this time.