The Spread of Coronavirus and Xenophobia

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Steadily increasing cases of COVID-19 within the United States have brought to light many troubling issues concerning poor response, infrastructure, and access to healthcare for our most vulnerable communities. More alarmingly, this has also ushered in a new period of heightened racism and xenophobia against those perceived to be Asian throughout America; most particularly in large cities where public transit spaces and classrooms have become increasingly hostile.

In San Francisco, city leaders are urging residents and visitors to continue shopping at Chinese-owned business as a response to the over 50% drop in business reported by Chinatown restaurants. Although COVID-19 has severely impacted the entire country of Italy enough to induce a national lockdown, no similar targeting of Italian businesses or communities has been reported in the United States.

While many are focusing upon the effects this pandemic has had upon global trade and our economy, it is equally, if not more so, important to be vigilant against acts of racism and malicious misinformation targeting Asian people. Currently, there are more than 200 civil rights groups, including the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, who have demanded Congress take “tangible steps to counter the hysteria” around the coronavirus and denounce the spread of racism and xenophobia in a joint resolution.

Anti-Racist activism should be paired with accurate and up-to-date information. Refer to the Center for Disease Control for updates on the current situation in the United States, or the World Health Organization for international reports of COVID-19. Look to your local news stations for more information.