Wave of racist attacks against Asian Americans in wake of coronavirus outbreak

The physical and verbal attacks are driven by ignorance and misinformation 

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Saturday 22 February 2020 17:12 GMT
Researchers in Queensland, Australia develop a potential coronavirus vaccine

Misinformation and exaggeration about the coronavirus have led to a wave of racist attacks on Asian Americans across the US.

The attacks are both physical and verbal, and there are also cases of people either from East Asia, or of East Asian descent, being turned away from businesses.

Incidents include a racist tirade against a Thai woman on the LA subway; a vicious assault on an Asian woman on the New York subway; and two hotels in Indiana refusing to accomodate Asian guests.

In addition, CNN reports a major downturn in business at Chinese restaurants in New York, with some seeing only 30 per cent of the usual number of customers.

The attacks and cases of discrimination are happening despite the very small number of coronavirus cases in the US, and against the background of the high number of deaths from flu this season.

At last count there were 35 cases of coronavirus in the US, and no deaths. All cases have either travelled to China or been in close contact with someone that had.

Since 29 September an estimated 12,000 people in the US have died from the flu according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to racist attacks against Asian people, there have also been disturbing scenes in Ukraine where dozens of protesters clashed with police and hurled stones at buses carrying people who were evacuated from China over fears about the outbreak.

Globally, there have been almost 77,923 cases of coronavirus and 2,362 deaths as of Saturday.

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