Mobilizing the Chinese Immigrant Community and Battling the Potential COVID‑19 outbreak in the Greater Toronto Area: Gathering essential information, creating a mutual support quarantine network and assessing psychological impacts
The COVID‑19 outbreak is raging in China and spreading across the globe. The situation is getting worse and may last longer than anyone can expect. Despite of only eight confirmed cases, Canada is now shrouded in fear and worry in face of uncertainty. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has one of the largest Chinese communities in the world and thus bears the brunt of the fear, anxiety, and panic. This, coupled with English language obstacles, has enabled rumors and misinformation to explode on social media. It has been suggested that the Toronto Chinese community is the most vulnerable, yet least prepared population for the potential COVID‑19 outbreak. There is an urgent need to prepare and mobilize the GTA Chinese community to fight against the possible outbreak. In this context, the overarching goal of the proposed work is to assess the knowledge, develop effective epidemic control practice, and identify the psychological impacts of the disease. This will be achieved through coordinated efforts across communities, professionals, and local residents, to address three specific and inter-related objectives: 1) assessing GTA Chinese immigrants’ knowledge, attitudes/beliefs, and protection practices toward COVID-19; 2) developing, evaluating, and optimizing a mutual-support quarantine network to contain COVID‑19 from further spreading; and 3) assessing the psychological impacts and the associated predictors of the potential COVID‑19 outbreak. The proposed project is culturally relevant, practical, and community-based. The research team is comprised of multidisciplinary researchers from the related fields of public health (epidemiology), psychology, sociology, and health policy. As part of the ongoing effort, the team has been closely working with the GTA Chinese community in various ways. This project will benefit not only the target population but also other communities in Canada.