Covid-19 Resources for Non-English Speakers

The Ontario Government’s Ministry of Health has developed an information sheet about the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) to inform Ontarians about the virus, how they can protect themselves and what to do if they think they have contracted the 2019 novel coronavirus. The information sheet is available in multiple languages (see list below) and can be found at https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-15.

However, this list of 28 languages other than English is not exhaustive.  For additional information in other languages, you can try an American resource, the Covid-19 Health Literacy Project, founded by Pooja Chandrashekar, a first-year medical student at Harvard Medical School.  She reports that, “The languages they’ve chosen are the languages spoken by the medical students involved with us. We’ve had medical students and graduate students reach out and offer to translate the material into their native language. And our list of languages is continuously growing: If there’s a language not included on our website and someone reaches out to us, we see if we can get it translated for them.”

A new initiative from medical students and physicians at Harvard Medical School aims to help members of these communities by translating fact-based Covid-19 information. The initiative, known as the Covid-19 Health Literacy Project, has already translated essential Covid-19 information about prevention and possible treatment options, among other issues, in over 35 languages, including Navajo, Oromo (spoken by an ethnic group in Ethiopia), and Swahili.

Additionally, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made essential information on Covid-19 available in Spanish and Chinese on its website. And individual states have taken steps to offer Covid-19 resources in various languages. Washington State’s Department of Health offers information in 15 languages, for example, and the New Hampshire government has resources in eight languages (including a video in American Sign Language). Private citizens and non-profits have also found ways to try and fill in the information gap for non-English speakers.

 

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