Coronavirus used to push racist agenda

Daniela Rangel

Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAMS/ Center for Disease Control
This illustration was created by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2020. This drawing shows the ultrastructural morphology of the coronaviruses.

Amidst the widespread panic caused by the coronavirus is a shockingly large-scale anti-Asian agenda pushed by misinformation surrounding the illness. 

Knowledge of the coronavirus with origins in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China has caused fear among many people. The virus, believed to have started in an open-air market in the city, has over 101,770 confirmed cases globally with 14 deaths in the US. and 3,461 deaths globally. While the coronavirus has had the largest impact on Asian countries, it does not mean that every Asian person has contracted the virus. This myth has caused many harmful and ill-informed cruelty directed toward members of the Asian community.

Instances of discrimination have since been shared online and in opinion pieces in countless publications. This is happening in America with people who haven’t ever visited the country, especially not during the time of the outbreak. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported multiple cases of racial discrimination in that area alone, with one subway rider reportedly pushing a Chinese person wearing a surgical mask away from them and onto another platform. Philadelphia, a city with no cases of the coronavirus, has seen a large amount of public discrimination, with Chinese-owned businesses and the entire Chinatown area seeing fewer visitors daily, meaning aside from psychological and physical effects, the Asian community is hurting economically as a result of xenophobia.

Verbal and physical abuse torments the Asian communities of countless cities, states and countries. Hostility and blatant discrimination follow Asian people everywhere for no apparent reason aside from physical appearance. In countries with very few, well-contained cases, these sorts of incidents are not at all uncommon for any Asian person attempting to go about their days. Even the University of California Berkley’s wellness Instagram account posted an infographic stating that xenophobia toward Asian students was normal and to be expected. 

Informing oneself can stop this discrimination caused only by ignorance and deep-rooted racism.