A virus originating from China exposes blatant racism in America as the US struggles to respond to the coronavirus

coronavirus racism
  • By calling the coronavirus the "Chinese Virus," it attaches an ethnicity to the virus that puts people of Asian descent at risk.
  • As of Thursday, the coronavirus has infected more than 244,000 people worldwide, with the global death toll surpassing 10,000.
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Originating from Wuhan, China, the novel coronavirus, labeled as SARS-CoV-2, causes a disease known as COVID-19.

Despite the scientific classifications, some people latched onto one name for the coronavirus with racist implications: "Chinese Virus."

NewsHour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked President Donald Trump - a regular user of the term - if he thinks the use of "Chinese Virus" and the less politically correct term "Kung Flu" would potentially put Asian Americans at risk for racist attacks, the president said, "Not at all. I think they probably would agree with it 100%. It comes from China."

By attaching the virus to a certain ethnicity, people of Asian descent have become targets of racism and xenophobia, with Chinese restaurants temporarily closing due to a decrease in patronage, people being subject to hostile remarks, and in some extreme cases, some Asians being physically assaulted.

And it's not just the US in which these acts of racism are being reported. An Asian man was assaulted in London as his attackers yelled: "I don't want your Coronavirus in my country." British-Chinese filmmaker Lucy Sheen tweeted in February that she was told to go back to China and to take her "filth" back with her.

A Chinese student in Adelaide, Australia, was attacked simply because he was speaking a different language while walking down the street.

Normalizing the association between the coronavirus and those of Asian descent will only cause further divide at a time where fear and distrust already run rampant.

The coronavirus was initially referred to as the "Wuhan coronavirus," in which a novel virus is named after its source of origin. While the coronavirus originated from Wuhan, in the Chinese province of Hubei, the virus has now made its way onto more than 160 countries and territories.

As of Thursday, the coronavirus has infected more than 244,000 people worldwide, with the global death toll surpassing 10,000. It has impacted China. It has impacted Italy. It has impacted Iran, Spain, Germany, the US, and more.

The virus is already taking a toll on friends, families, and communities - there's no reason for racism to add to that.

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