‘Are You Sick?’ For Asian-Americans, a Sneeze Brings Suspicion

Coronavirus, Chinese American, Quarantines, Discrimination, Asian American

Though there are only a few known cases in the U.S., the coronavirus outbreak has left some Asian-Americans feeling an unsettling level of public scrutiny

Coronavirus, Chinese American


Though there are only a few known cases in the U.S., the coronavirus outbreak has left some Asian-Americans feeling an unsettling level of public scrutiny

Though there are only a few known cases in the U.S., the coronavirus outbreak has left some Asian-Americans feeling an unsettling level of public scrutiny.

coronavirus@nytimes.com if you are willing to be contacted by a reporter or have your comments used for a coming story. Although Lanzhou is far from Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, his co-workers in the United States thought it best for him to stay home from the office for 14 days. He said he understood. Since then, he took a walk in a nature preserve near his house to calm himself. At the grocery store, he said he felt the eyes of strangers appraising him. “A few folks were giving me looks,” he said. “I don’t think they were malicious or hostile, but ‘Why are you wearing a mask — are you sick?’” Robert Li, a resident of San Francisco, was browsing phones at a computer store last week when he overheard an employee talking with a customer about the outbreak. “‘Of course, if you eat raw bats, you’re going to get coronavirus,’” he recalled hearing the worker saying. “They were basically making fun of Asians,” said Mr. Li, who is ethnically Chinese. “This is part of a racial trope that Chinese people eat everything.” Immigration from China was once effectively banned under the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first anti-immigrant law directed at a specific nationality. The Chinese population in the United States began to grow significantly after 1965, when restrictions on immigration were loosened, and it exploded after 1980. At that time, fewer than 500,000 immigrants from China lived in the United States; now there are close to 5 million, primarily concentrated in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., according to the Pew Research Center. News of the coronavirus outbreak comes on the heels of a trade fight with China that already had created uncertainty and economic worries for some. “If you are already conditioned to fear China or Chinese people, this gives you another reason,” said Vincent Pan, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, a civil rights organization in San Francisco that has called on California agencies to arrange hotlines to collect information on bullying or discrimination related to the virus. “Disease is a really powerful way to turn one group of people against another group of people,” he said. “Historically, disease has been a really fast way to ‘other-ize’ a community. It’s a tricky balance, because we also don’t want as a society to minimize public health concerns.” Around the nation in recent weeks, health officials have issued warnings that walk a delicate line: trying to protect the public without prompting needless alarm and xenophobia. Since January, local, state and federal health officials have repeated a single message, that the risk of contracting coronavirus in the United States remains low. “Ethnicity does not influence transmission of the novel coronavirus,” Jeanne Ayers, a Wisconsin health officer, said last week, after announcing that a resident in Madison, the capital, had contracted the state’s first case of coronavirus. “It is travel history and direct close contact with a case,” she said, explaining how medical officials believe the person was infected. So far, the coronavirus outbreak has largely been contained in the United States by the federal authorities’ decision weeks ago to sharply curtail flights from China, and to place the small trickle of travelers who had been to China recently in two-week periods of quarantine on military bases or isolation in their homes. Americans in quarantine said they were ambivalent about their confinement. Some said they were bored and restless, increasingly anxious and lonely, but also understanding of the public’s fears. Last week, Jeffrey Ho, an auto mechanic based in San Bernardino, Calif., returned from Hubei province, where his wife’s family lives, on a flight organized by the State Department. He and more than 170 fellow passengers from Wuhan are now being held in quarantine at Travis Air Force Base, northeast of San Francisco. On the one hand, Mr. Ho said, he does not blame people for fearing contracting the virus. When he was in Hubei province, the center of the outbreak, the few people who wandered outside generally kept their distance from one another. “They are fearing for their lives,” Mr. Ho said. “People were suspicious of anyone who left their apartment building.” On the other hand, he said, fear of the virus in the United States is tinged with racial discrimination. “I feel like I could be potentially targeted, too,” he said. Last week, Eileen Wong, a business consultant from New York whose parents are from Hong Kong, boarded a packed train in Philadelphia with a colleague and stood in the aisle for the entire 90-minute journey home. A woman seated nearby looked up from her phone and gasped, Ms. Wong said, when the woman spotted Ms. Wong and her colleague, who is also Asian-American. “She said, ‘Oh my God!’ and immediately covered herself with her jacket,” Ms. Wong said. Ms. Wong’s colleague looked down to see the woman type into Google: “How deadly is coronavirus?” In a mix of ethnicities in Manhattan, where Ms. Wong lives, she never thought of herself as sticking out. “I grew up here, I don’t have an accent,” Ms. Wong said. “You’re American — why would that happen to me?” “It was eye-opening for me,” Ms. Wong said. “We weren’t showing any symptoms like sneezing or coughing, so it was just based on looks.” Julie Bosman reported from Chicago, Farah Stockman from Boston and Thomas Fuller from San Francisco. Vivian Lin contributed reporting from San Mateo, Calif., Mitch Smith from Chicago. Advertisement Read more: The New York Times

And there’s nothing wrong with that! People need to stop looking at every possible way they can be offended. I freaking can’t stand liberals. Africa spared as well...unfreakingbelievable! Rightly so. Blame the media. I used bacterial wipe under paper towel 🧻 ..both hands 🤚 at the gym 🏋🏻‍♀️ Germs fluprotection

💔✨Basic primal instincts of fear... educate to bring ppl from basic insticts and ignorance... to.... compassion, humanity & intelligence.. Sometimes it comes in handy. Recently had a lingering cough from a cold & was flying Southwest. Explained the situation to a nearby passenger, became allies, crafted a plan, exaggerated the cough anytime someone came near, we got the rows to ourselves! That was some flight unity.

it looks like she hasn't really learned anything at the Arizona University over Dramatization by NYT...........🙄 I quite enjoy it. I feel like I get more personal space on elevators and subways. I swallowed a drink on the subway, and it went down the wrong pipe, and a dude who was straphanging basically just backed all the way into the corner. I was like, bro...

Asian Americans are a growing force in Nevada and 'they want to be courted'25-year-old Dan Santos is part of the new wave of Filipino Americans in Nevada. Growing up, he says, “I never had mentors in politics or community organizing that looked like me.” This month, he’ll be a precinct chairman on caucus day. If he wants that it exists in the Philippines. Move back if you want to be around your people. i got top shelf medical marijuana,lean and cartridges at affordable prices Delivery is top discreet and safe,💯 assurance ,Dm for multiple lbs 📲 4242835018 Sc: buds_pills Can you guys at cnn get MichaelAvenatti back on? You really had it goin on. When he was on ...65 TIMES. BUFFOONS

This is why Trump is president. Americans are not very bright. Imagine if this snowflake generation were ever called up to actually fight?! 😂 Would be no different if she sneezed in China, so what's the big deal? I wonder why? Once again the looking for the worst in all of us. They're spreading this garbage based on an interview with ONE University student. Pathetic.

Reality check, Coronavirius isn’t as bad as another Trump term. Congrats MSM, you got everyone worked into quite a good scare over this nonsense. Just had someone all freaked out on me scared I’m sick and gonna spread it to him because my back hurts and I let out a groan. 👍 Idiots. How selfish of people to be concerned about their lives.

I feel like this is made up. I wanna know what people see a person they think looks Asian and assumes they have a disease that's wildly over-documented in the US 🙄 This is just publicity to get people mad at something not real and get clicks and ad $ B S

'We're an Afterthought': The Push to Get Asian-Americans to Complete the CensusAUSTIN, Texas -- She thrust a flyer into the hand of a tall young man who looked annoyed. She promised to give a woman a gift for hearing her out. And she practically wrapped her arms around another woman who bounded away shaking her head, uninterested and impatient.With each person, Alice Yi offered

Who's woke now🤣🤣 Human rights are only for Non Muslims nytimes Racism as always. For Asians, they probably should be more on the alert, since other people think they are sick; these 'other people' would careless if they spread their diseases to Asians! So always take precaution. coronavirus New York Times, please stop manipulating the truth. Your website showing coronavirus confirmed cases for Japan including diamondprincess is wrong. Ship is owned by an American company as you are aware. Even WHO is not including. FT is better paper as they also do not mix!!

whatsApp the temple via +15015033078.. Join the brotherhood online today to achieve all your heart desire. Now for more information do message us on how you will be fully initiated to the Illuminati and make life a meaningful one for you to start up new living... For many Asians, a sneeze has always brought suspicion 🤪

Rent the Runway introduces South Asian formal wearRent the Runway goes desi! Users can rent an anarkali suit or lehengas designed by fashion company Sani. Wait, I thought this was cultural appropriation?

So the news is terrifying right now. I don’t care how few cases we have stateside... when someone sneezes I get a little nervous... no matter what they look like. Who cares? They’ll get over it So proud of our President and Flotus at Daytona 500. Talk about proud Americans!! COVIDー19 , the virus is official, as a newspaper you should know

America is the most racist country in the world, we expect nothing less. A racist is hiding under every rock. Right, ? OUR CONGRESS NEEDS TO INVESTIGATE CORRUPTION,,where ever it raises its ugly head,senates failure is no excuse for our congress to neglect their duties/.as house speaker pelosi is actively doing,'ag barr,is that corruption',him impeached would be a blessing/.FACT!/.CONGRESS DO IT.

I for one welcome our New Mexican 🦠 overlords and would like to order a margarita with my corona. And more chips please. foreveracquitted NYT huge fan of viruses

WUHAN CORONAVIRUS: US health policy risk versus East Asian countries - Business InsiderPOLICY SHORTFALL: US government is less equipped to handle coronavirus and support citizens than the East Asian countries that have already been hit That is an obviously criminal article that encourages civil strife and seeks to fear some hypothetical dirt Report Its the godamn mass of demonstrators that wants medicine, prohibation and survailance, not the authorities Report

Paranoia being a hallmark of the ignorant. 'Some Asian-Americans' covers a lot of ground. How many? Hmm .... I wonder if the new Republican run NY Times spewing Nazi-level xenophobic tweets 10 times a day could have something to do with it ? Same thing happened to Black folks during Ebola outbreak. Welcome to America. 🤷🏾‍♀️

If Martians landed and brought the virus to earth we would be a little leery of green people. GEEZ! Don't believe this. Broaden your sample. Did you ask any other races? Of course not, because that would be actual research. I'm suspicious of EVERYONE who sneezes or coughs right now, I don't care whether they're white, black, or polka dot.

interesting and very rich coming from them. the same unsettling level of public scrutiny is the same theyve been giving to black people for years. ask any black person who's ever been to Hong Kong International Airport

No handshakes: Viral outbreak spooks Asian places of worshipFaith in an outbreak's shadow: Houses of worship in mainland China are closed. Protective cloth is over the grills in confessional boxes in the Philippines. Crowds have thinned at popular Japanese and Thai temples. This is what it took for the world to believe in science ...

'those cites' Chinatowns' is a typo for 'those cities' Chinatowns.' juliebosman thomasfullerNYT WHY THE HELL ARE YOU LYING! I just spent the weekend in China town shooting a commercial , NO MASKS folks being normal, NYT ALWAYS SPREADING FUELING NURTURING HATE, RACISM, DIVIDE! gfys NYTs trying to incite bigotry but failing. Like they always do.

I may not be Asian but I swear I still get 'death stares' when I am hacking up a lung when I'm smoking my cannabis waiting at the bus stop lol, just saying! 🤣💁‍♂️ I have the feeling the coronavirus is only going to get worse and Americans don't realize how serious this is until it hits our homeland.

o gawd here we go.... we can't discriminate against a deadly virus.... only The Left.

No handshakes: Viral outbreak spooks Asian places of worshipTemporary restrictions and dwindling crowds in places of worship across Asia have underscored the extent of the scare over a viral outbreak that has permeated many aspects of life in the religiously diverse region Which type of mask is worse? Turns out your make believe god can't save you after all LOOOOOOOOL

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