Coronavirus: Chinese Consequences
The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) hit around very late 2019 and early 2020. It is a contagious respiratory disease, known to be spread from animals. Apart from many beliefs, coronavirus is not the actual name for the virus. It is a large set of viruses, most of which cause the common cold. However, three coronaviruses are more serious ones such as SARS, which wreaked havoc in as well as 26 other countries, and MERS affecting Saudi Arabia, and last but not least, the infamous COVID-19, or SARS-CoV-2.
COVID-19 is a novel form of coronavirus, which means that it was unknown to mankind before the pandemic hit. The first few cases of COVID-19 were reported on New Year’s Eve of 2019, in Wuhan, China. Not knowing what the virus was, it was recorded as “severe pneumonia”. On January 9th, virologists and public health researchers identified the disease as a novel form of coronavirus, with ties to one of Wuhan’s “wet markets”, which was a place to sell fish and other livestock. These markets have been known to transmit diseases before. For cultural reasons, customers may want to see the animals slaughtered directly in front of them, and as a result, viral bacteria from the animal can become airborne, and start infecting people.
The first known case of COVID-19 in the United States was located in Washington state. The 35-year-old man had a persistent 4-day cough and fever. He later stated that he had indeed gone to visit family in Wuhan, China, and after feeling all the symptoms for COVID-19, he had decided to go to a health care provider. This marked the beginning of the United States infection. However, some recent cases of COVID-19 cannot be traced back to risk factors, such as visiting or coming in close contact with someone who lives in a risky area. With these new conditions, President Donald Trump has encouraged Americans to avoid social gatherings of more than ten people, avoid eating and drinking at restaurants and food courts, and about 30 states have closed all schools.
As the US coronavirus case count approaches more than 10,750 confirmed cases, and the death toll rising to 150 deaths, cases have been reported in all fifty states of the US, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. With Washington State having the most deaths, New York second, and California third, the novel virus has now become an even bigger problem than before. COVID-19 spreads extremely easily, and you can become infected just by talking to or touching someone who has been infected by the virus. The best way to avoid contracting the virus is just to practice good hygiene. Washing your hands often is the best way to stay healthy. Also, check-in on older, frailer, neighbours. Make sure that they are okay, and have everything. On the flip side, make sure that they are taking the virus seriously and taking the necessary precautions.
What other effects does the virus have on the US? Aside from the obvious humongous blowup of confirmed cases and the United States going into a state of full-grown panic, there’s also something that not everybody has to deal with. Prejudice and unfair treatment against Chinese Americans. Everywhere around the world, the Chinese are now looked down on for starting the deadly virus and not being able to contain it. This is causing many people to prejudice against Asians. Simply assuming that every person you see with dark hair and dark, hooded eyes has coronavirus is not going to help the US pull through the deadly pandemic. In addition to this issue, kids in schools are being bullied for their race, another case of racism that we thought we ended once the civil war ended. However, no such luck. As an American Chinese kid, I can tell you firsthand that this is true and that it has happened. During the early stages of this pandemic, I went shopping, a normal thing that all girls my age would do. The abnormal thing? As I walked past a man, he noticeably held his breath, glared my way, and pulled the neck of his shirt up to his nose. This is just one way the hate towards the Chinese is shown.
The real reason why coronavirus started was all a big mystery, which has all the big conspiracy theorists riled up. One popular suggestion as for the answer was to pin the blame on China’s bat soup, which was first brought to the surfaces of social media after a video featuring a young Chinese lady, supposedly living in Wuhan, China, biting into a whole bat while holding it with chopsticks. This video has been the centre of many racist and unethical memes targeting Asian and Chinese eating habits. Thousands of Twitter users bashed the Chinese for their eating habits and the use of wet markets. However, the phrase “not everything you see online is real,” is very true here, as the woman in the video was not even in Wuhan at the time. Instead, it showed Wang Mengyun, the host of an online travel show, eating a dish in Palau, a Pacific island nation. The video has now popped up in several other forms of social media, once again renewing the gross, old prejudices of foreign eating habits. Images of Chinese people or other Asians eating insects, snakes, or mice frequently circulate on social media or in click-bait news stories. This time, that was mixed with another old racist idea: that the “dirty” Chinese are carriers of disease. Many Americans long believed that, as the New York Daily Tribune wrote in 1854, Chinese people were “uncivilized, unclean, filthy beyond all conception.” Today, those same ideas have often been transferred to other groups such as South American refugees, yet they persist in the way some Westerners think about China.
Another theory of how the virus started was the infamous book, The Eyes of Darkness, by Dean Koontz. A picture that surfaced on social media of a page in the book supposedly saying, “To understand that,” Dombey said, “you have to go back twenty months. It was around then that a Chinese scientist named Li Chen defected to the United States, carrying a diskette record of China’s most important and dangerous new biological weapon in a decade. They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside the city of Wuhan, and it was the four-hundredth viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at that research center.” While it may seem like many of us reading this may have had a revelation, it may be worth mentioning that the original book, which was published in 1981, called the virus “Gorki-400”, in reference to Russian locality. It was later changed to “Wuhan-400” when it was republished in 1989. While it is true that the virus did start in Wuhan, the fact that it was lab-created is a whole different conspiracy theory, which brings us to the next big theory.
The last theory that many have is that the virus was smuggled from a Canadian research lab, from a Chinese spy team. On Jan. 25, Kyle Bass tweeted: “A husband and wife Chinese spy team were recently removed from a Level 4 Infectious Disease facility in Canada for sending pathogens to the Wuhan facility. The husband specialized in coronavirus research.”The next day, ZeroHedge, a website that has published misinformation before, posted a story with this headline: “Did China Steal Coronavirus From Canada And Weaponize It? A screenshot of Bass’s tweet has also been turned into a meme that is circulating on Facebook. This giant wave of miscommunication and misinformation caused a lot of controversies and spreading fake news. Connections to this theory also state that a scientist in a level four Virology Lab in Wuhan created the virus and it was man-made.
However, the best theory right now is that it was transmitted from animal to human, which started the whole pandemic. The most effective thing to do right now is to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands not only after using the toilet, but regularly. Practice social distancing, stay at least 6 feet away from others. Wear an anti-viral face mask if you or if you are taking care of someone who is sick. Contact your health provider if you think you might have COVID-19. Now that all continents have COVID-19, it is no longer just China’s battle. It is a battle to save our race.