Coronavirus still is wrongly labeled a China problem

While it is abundantly clear that the novel coronavirus is a global epidemic requiring the collaboration of health departments across the world to contain, one group, Asians, seems to be taking all the blame.

A combination of misinformation and the media frenzy have led to racism and xenophobia toward Asians across the world. In the past few months, a large number of aggressive incidents against Asians has been reported. In a recent incident, two men tried to push an Asian woman off a bike after yelling “Chinese.” Further, CNN reported that Chinese businesses across America, such as restaurants and supermarkets, are losing business due to fear of the coronavirus.

If you search for “coronavirus” news, you are more than likely to see articles pop up with photos of Asians wearing surgical masks and suits. As mentioned in Columbia Journalism Review, several media organizations such the New York Times ran stories using photos of Asians in masks, causing coronavirus to be labelled as a China problem. To add to this, President Donald Trump recently referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” and even has briefing notes where coronavirus was crossed out and replaced with “Chinese”.

As of now, Italy has over 40,000 cases, and the entire country is on lockdown due to the virus.  But Italy is not the only other country with thousands of cases, and even America is approaching 9,000 cases.  The coronavirus may have originated in Wuhan, China, but why is it that China still is getting the majority of the negative press? Why are so many Asians being discriminated against?

The bottom line is this is simply not just China’s problem. It is every country’s duty to take preventative measures to contain this virus and protect its citizens. As the virus is quickly spreading to Europe and North America, pressure is being taken off of China, but Asians still are facing racism. Ultimately, we need to shift its focus from isolating countries and racial groups towards unifying us as we all have the same goal in mind – end coronavirus.

This post written for an assigment in a Media and Democracy class at St. Bonaventure University.

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