With the cancellation of JMU’s Study Abroad programs due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I wanted to bring to light the misconceptions that people can have about the virus and the open forms of racism and xenophobia that are being practiced when dealing with the virus. Let’s be honest, I (almost) have no idea what I’m talking about so take everything that I’m about to say concerning the virus with a grain of salt. I did as much research as I could! Although I’m no doctor, I do have a bit to say about racism and xenophobia so to start, let’s have a little background check on the Coronavirus.
The cases that we’ve seen so far in 2020 have not been the very first time that the Coronavirus has been around. There are currently seven known strains of the virus. However, this is the first time that we’ve seen the novel Coronavirus (nCoV). The novel Coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China— although no one knows exactly how the first case was contracted. It’s difficult to differentiate the Coronavirus from other viruses, like the flu, because the symptoms are so similar. For the Coronavirus, common symptoms have been having a cough, fever, or shortness of breath and more extreme cases of the Coronavirus have led to respiratory issues, kidney failure, and death. These symptoms normally appear around 14 days for those that are infected. As of March 2, 2020, there are 89,557 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus and 3,056 deaths.
The countries that hold a predominant amount of the virus cases have been China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Japan. As of recent, China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran have been raised to a level 3 travel advisory by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A level 3 by the CDC consists of an alert on the avoidance of nonessential travel.
In a previous newsroom post, we talked about some of the myths of the Coronavirus, and I’m here to give you the rundown on more myths that have suddenly surfaced about the Coronavirus. You might be scared out of your mind because it seems like the virus is spreading like wildfire. However, what your news source isn’t telling you is that there are almost 90,000 Coronavirus cases, yes, BUT there are two scenarios. Closed cases of the Coronavirus and open cases. Closed cases are cases that have resulted in recovery or death, and open cases are cases that are still active and have not yet resulted in recovery or death. Within the 90,000 virus cases, there are 48,000 closed cases and WITHIN those closed cases, 45,000 of the patients have been recovered and discharged. That is 94%! 94% of those that have experienced the Coronavirus have recovered. For the 41,000 open cases, 34,000 of those cases are patients that have a mild condition of the Coronavirus. The Coronavirus isn’t something that should be taken lightly, but it’s just not as bad as you may think it is okay? So take a breath for me.
Another myth that I really have to dispel is that NO, the Corona beer brand, CANNOT give you the Coronavirus. The Coronavirus originally got its name because when you look at this virus underneath a microscope, the virus looks like a crown at its surface. Due to the name association, the Corona beer brand has faced a drop in sales.
According to the New York Post, a recent survey conducted by 5W Public Relations found that 38% of beer drinking Americans flat out refused to buy Corona under any circumstances. Among the people who have been regular Corona consumers, 4% said that they would stop drinking Corona, while 14% said that they would not order Corona in public. A shocking 16% of beer drinking Americans said that they weren’t sure if the Coronavirus and Corona beer were related to one another. Along with Corona’s drop in sales, Constellation Brands (the parent company of Corona) faced an 8% drop in stocks on February 27, 2020 and a 4% drop on February 28, 2020.
Now that we’ve made it through the background on the Coronavirus and some myths and misconceptions associated with it, it’s time to get into oh so apparent racism and xenophobia that is intertwined with the virus. Since the Coronavirus originated in China, people jump to the conclusion that
all Chinese people have the Coronavirus. Scratch that, people jump to the conclusion that all Asian people have the Coronavirus. Let’s be real, any non-Asian person cannot tell the difference between different Asian nationalities or ethnic groups. I cannot tell you how many times that I’ve had someone ask me, “Are you Chinese?” As if being Asian automatically categorized you as being Chinese because there aren’t any other Asian countries other than China right? I’m sorry that I didn’t realize that you were 10% Italian and 5% Irish, but please recognize that it is racist to assume all Asian people are Chinese.
NEWSFLASH: not every Asian person is Chinese and not every Chinese person has the Coronavirus.
Let’s just stop with the overt racism. Instead, we can focus on ways that we can prevent the virus from spreading. The virus spreads from an infected person coughing, sneezing, or coming into close personal contact with you. You can also contract the virus by touching something that has the virus on it and then touching your eyes or mouth immediately afterward. This is to say, WASH YOUR HANDS. Since the Coronavirus has similar symptoms as the flu, please go to a doctor if you start to experience flu-like symptoms. Stay informed and aware folx!