What is spreading faster than the Coronavirus?

Rachel Yim, Senior Reporter

Though the impact of the coronavirus in the U.S. is minimal, this outbreak and Americans’ fear have caused an unsettling level of public scrutiny to many Asian Americans.

Currently, with coronavirus cases reaching over 84,000 and deaths almost reaching 3,000, bullying and assaults of Asian-Americans are being reported in various places across the nation, especially in New York and New Mexico. These are sparked by unfounded fears that these individuals are somehow linked to the virus originated from China.

While the coronavirus is quickly spreading out among the human population worldwide, the question I want to ask is, what is spreading faster in the US, the coronavirus or racist assaults against Asian Americans?

One way of the transmission of the coronavirus occurs through the air by coughing and sneezing. This fact and the typical placebo of Americans has led to xenophobia and hostility against Asian Americans, according to CNN. Now, for Asian-Americans, every sneeze and cough brings suspicion of the coronavirus.

Recently, CNN reported a case where a man attacked an Asian woman wearing a face mask and justified his actions by loudly proclaiming the woman as a “diseased bitch.” Was this warranted on his part? Probably not. Was his action justifiable? Absolutely not.

But his action clearly exemplified the fear many Americans have in interacting with any Asians. The fear, however, has escalated into violence or even physical and mental attacks in some instances.

Exaggeration and misinformation about the coronavirus have not only led to a wave of racism against Asian Americans, but they have also led to physical violence and serious hatred.

From a tirade on an LA subway, to a woman getting attacked by a stranger at a New York subway station, to Indiana hotels harassing its Chinese guests, to New York’s Chinatown having no customers, Americans’ prejudice against Asians and Asian Americans are only getting worse.

Why are Asian Americans going through these racist attacks and discrimination? It is Americans who must be quarantined upon their recent return to the U.S. from China, not just anyone who may look Chinese.

“It’s important it is to see us in all our diversity, as individual human beings, and to challenge stereotypes,” Sam Phan, a master’s student at the University of Manchester, wrote in The Guardian. “The coronavirus is a human tragedy, so let’s not allow fear to breed hatred, intolerance and racism.”

No one can deny the fact that the coronavirus outbreak has started from China and that its government should have done a better job at preventing the spread, instead of trying to hide it. However, unreasonable bullying, assaults and discrimination against Asian Americans needs to stop.

Are they the ones who spread the virus in the U.S.? Is the Coronavirus more contagious among Asian-Americans? The answer is clear: No.

People may not realize it just takes one stare, one comment or one act of hostility to confirm how prejudiced people can become toward Asian Americans, but it is true.

“To see me as someone who carries the virus just because of my race is, well, just racist,” Phan said.