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Asian / Asian American Health Care: Covid 19 and Anti-Asian Racism

History of Viruses and Racism

Key Terms that are commonly used and how they differ:
Racism assigns a certain race and/ or ethnic group to a position of power or superiority over others.
Xenophobia describes attitudes, prejudices and behavior that reject and exclude others based on the perception that they are outsiders or foreigners.

Sinophobia: Fear of or contempt for China, its people, or its culture.


About Racism and Xenophobia around Coronavirus (COVID-19):

In the beginning, some people referred to Novel Coronavirus as Wuhan or Chinese Coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially named the virus SARS-CoV2 causing the condition named COVID-19. Naming guidelines for new pathogens follow the rule of not naming them after people, places, ethnic groups, animals or foods because this can be offensive or create a stigma.Racism and xenophobia have historically followed epidemics/pandemics similar to COVID-19.

Searching For Articles

The following search string can assist in guiding research on the racism and xenophobia that has stemmed from the COVID-19 outbreak.You can copy and paste the following search string into Google Scholar or any Oak Point databases.

Search String: (coronavirus OR COVID-19 OR 2019-nCoV) AND (racism OR racist OR xenophobia)

Related Search Terms and Keywords:

  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • 2019-nCOV
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)‚Äč
  • epidemic
  • xenophobia
  • racism
  • sinophobia


Anti-Asian racism during the COVID-19 pandemic

What does it mean to be Asian American in the time of the Covid pandemic? (Dr. Taharee Jackson)

  •  Asians are “forever foreigners”
  • Whiteness is synonymous with American-ness
  • EVERYONE is affected by Anti-Asian racism, or ANY racism
  • Understanding that anti-racism requires cross-racial coalition (listen to this NPR piece on the model minority myth and how it creates a wedge between Asian and Black communities. Asian and Black communities have been systemically oppressed and we need to work together to dismantle racism.)

How Healthcare Professionals Help Reduce Stigma?

CDC recommendations for communicators and public health officials to help counter stigma during COVID-19 include:

  • Maintain privacy and confidentiality of those seeking healthcare and those who may be part of any contact investigation.
  • Quickly communicate the risk or lack of risk from associations with products, people, and places.
  • Raise awareness about COVID-19 without increasing fear.
  • Share accurate information about how the virus spreads.
  • Speak out against negative behaviors, including negative statements on social media about groups of people, or exclusion of people who pose no risk from regular activities.
  • Be cautious about the images that are shared. Make sure they do not reinforce stereotypes.
  • Engage with stigmatized groups in person and through media channels including news media and social media.
  • Thank healthcare workers and responders. People who have traveled to areas where the COVID-19 outbreak is happening to help have performed a valuable service to everyone by helping make sure this disease does not spread further.
  • Share the need for social support for people who have returned from China or are worried about friends or relatives in the affected region.