Background

It is reported that on December 31st, 2019, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) China office had first reports of an unknown virus that happened with numerous pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. With this epidemic that seemed to be under control in China at the time, it started to turn into a tremendous global pandemic. There are even suggestions that the first person actually infected with COVID-19 was most likely a Hubei resident but nobody knows for sure who the first patient was (Ma, 2020).There are also nine cases that were reported in November which were five women and four men. None of them have been confirmed as the first patient. The Chinese government decided to place Wuhan and nearby cities under a quarantine which had roughly 50 million people in Hubei province. According to Google’s coronavirus disease statistics, there has been a total of 40.4 million total cases, 27.7 million who have recovered, and 1.12 million deaths. Since this virus had originated from China, it started to cause many people all over the world to get angry and spiteful towards Asian people and it truly affects not only Asians but Asian-Americans as well.

This disease was actually referred to as the “Wuhan coronavirus,” and is still talked about as the “Chinese virus.” With these terms, it makes others think that Chinese communities are associated with this disease and overall starts a racialization. Because of this, many individuals with an Asian background were being perceived as the ones who are associated with the virus. The sickness seems to have begun from a Wuhan fish market where they had animals such as snakes, bunnies, marmots, birds and bats, which are illegally traded for. COVID-19 is known to hop from animals to people. There is thought that a group made up of the stallholders from the Wuhan fish market contracted it by those animals they had. On January 1st, the Wuhan seafood market was forced to shut down for cleaning and inspection. Unfortunately, coronavirus had started to spread past the market and onto other people. The World Health Organization Western Pacific Office told everyone on January 21st that they have discovered the disease was also being passed around between humans as medical staff taking care of the ill started to also get infected by this terrifying virus (Weiss, 2020). China felt the initial hit of the coronavirus disease but afterward it really made an impact on how people viewed Asians and Asian-Americans. Throughout the entire coronavirus pandemic, a lot of individuals, especially those from Easy Asian backgrounds, have experienced more acts of racism and xenophobia from others. Present and historical contexts put people with East Asian backgrounds at a larger risk of encountering this terrible discrimination. In the past, East Asians have been a target for health-related attacks and attacks regarding the food they eat and their culture in general. So with the thoughts of this virus spreading from possibly a bat at the Wuhan seafood market, it made racists think that Asian people will eat anything and everything.

References

Ma, J. (2020, March 13). China’s first confirmed COVID-19 case traced back to November 17. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3074991/coronavirus-chinas-first-confirmed-covid-19-case-traced-back

Weiss, M. (2020, May 27). How coronavirus started and what happens next, explained. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.wired.co.uk/article/china-coronavirus

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