Coronavirus Workshop: When Fear Goes Viral

Alicia Wooten with Atomic Hands and I attended a workshop hosted at the Confucius Institute U.S. Center to learn more about the coronavirus outbreak and the human cost of stigma. We share three important things to keep in mind as the outbreak grows in the U.S.

Video description: TraciAnn is sitting on the left, wearing a black shirt and black blazer. Alicia is sitting on the right, wearing a black shirt. There is a wooden bookcase filled with books on the left part of the background and a white wall on the right side, with red Chinese decor.

Transcript: We’re here at the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, where a.workshop was provided about the coronavirus, when fear goes viral. Panelists included global health experts in New York City and a doctor from Wuhan, China via Skype. They discussed how society reacted to the coronavirus and the human cost of stigma and racism. Alicia will elaborate a bit on the three main things discussed. First, racism has had a big impact. People will judge and avoid other persons who look Chinese, why are we discriminating against Chinese people? For example, the swine flu outbreak originated in California, but we didn’t discriminate against Californians. It’s important for us to first check our bias for racism, to think if our actions are appropriate or not. Second, there are a lot of mental health issues happening now. Many people are anxious and worried, and in China, people are quarantined. They are isolated for days and weeks, contributing to anger and violence. It’s critical we prepare for our mental health in the case of an outbreak in the U.S. Third, tracking statical numbers such as mortality rates cannot be accurately compared between Wuhan, China and U.S. Both. countries have different outbreak response and preparedness. It’s important we take various factors into consideration. The problem isn’t the people, it’s the virus. It’s important for all of us to stay together, talk openly about our concerns and fears, and ensure we obtain accurate information online. Supporting one another is critical. We need to respect one another, show compassion and empathy.