The new coronavirus, now known as Covid-19, has killed more than 1,000 people and infected more than 45,000.
But according to the World Health Organization, it’s too early to predict the end of the virus’ outbreak.
In the U.S., where the 13th coronavirus infection has been detected — various states have taken steps to raise awareness on the crisis and its impact on communities.
In Seattle, a forum addressed possible stigmatization and discrimination based on people’s fears brought about by the coronavirus.
“We are not going to allow misinformation to take hold in our community. Stigma does not fight illness, but sharing accurate information, especially during a time of heightened concern is one of the best things we can do,” said Dow Constantine.
“Your race or ethnicity does not make you more at risk for this illness. We’ve heard of a number of harmful situations in the community and we need to be forceful in saying no discrimination of any kind is going to be tolerated,” said Patty Hayes.
A Fil-Am from Seattle shared how his wife and kid experienced discrimination while shopping at Costco.
The mother and son were reportedly told by a Costco vendor to stay away from her because she was afraid of getting infected with the virus.
“They were turned away because of how they looked. And my son was wearing a mask because he was worried about coronavirus and my wife is Korean, but they questioned whether she might be from china or whether my son might be from China,” said Devin Cabanilla.
Cabanilla contacted Costco management later that night to report the incident his family experienced.
For its part, Costco said the worker was employed by a separate company that is taking appropriate measures as a response.
“My son’s okay. He still asks about the coronavirus every day just because there’s news about it every day. So he’s more concerned than a normal kid would be about coronavirus news. And then as for my wife, she’s just still upset that it happened. And also she’s upset that now our kids have to deal with it. Like it’s the first time they had to deal with uh, being discriminated against.”
Cabanilla posted about his family’s experience on social media.
Other people of Asian descent have also posted online their various experiences with discrimination as the world continues to find ways to stop the further spread of the deadly virus.