By Sam Begg
The Coronavirus has now been confirmed to be in at least 29 countries, yet the impact the media has on our way of thinking is spreading much faster, leading to discrimination.
People wearing facemasks and checking their phones (AP Photo, Gemunu Amarasinghe)
You’re probably reading this expecting to be shocked at some horrible statistic, but you’re wrong. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is without a doubt an international crisis and my hearts do go out to all the families who are victims; I’m truly sorry for what they have had to go through.
However, the media overdramatise the severity of the situation. This has resulted in fearmongering to such an extent which has led to racial discrimination against people of an Eastern Asian background.
By the 26th of February, 75,780 are the confirmed cases of the Coronavirus worldwide with a total of 2130 deaths. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a figure to be looked over but the likelihood of this affecting the average person is minuscule. You are more likely to die from a hippo attack with an annual death rate of 2400 than to die of the Coronavirus, according to Pure Oldies 941.
Furthermore, you are more than 10 times likely to die from lightning than the virus, so I wouldn’t worry too much about those odds unless you are seriously unlucky.
On a serious note, you should be wary of your hygiene even with such a small probability of infection. The NHS highly advises that you continue the practices of:
- Regularly washing hands
- Maintaining good personal hygiene
- Covering nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing
- Disposing of any tissues in a bin
- Thoroughly cooking eggs and meat
- Avoiding contact with anyone showing signs of respiratory illness
So why is this leading to discrimination, you’re probably asking? Well as a result of the Coronavirus originating from China, the mainstream has focused on this idea and have used titles such as, “China is the real sick man of Asia” as shown from the Wall Street Journal. This, therefore, leads to the stereotype that if you look like you could be from China, you might be sick. This is awful, it is supposed to the year 2020. Have we not moved on from this basic way of thinking?
Many people from an Eastern Asian heritage feel like they are being victimised. A friend of mine said to me the other day, “I could walk down the street and I would feel like there is always somebody watching me from a distance to make sure I don’t get too close.” The sad thing is, he has never been to China in his life, but because of the way he looks, he is now being isolated from our society for something he had no control over.
So, how worried should you be of the Coronavirus? Next to zero. The chances of the virus having any impact on the average person’s life are little to none, but with that being said, the media feels like you should be in constant fear of a threat that isn’t there.
They portray men and women with an Eastern Asian background like some kind of carriers of the Coronavirus and that simply is not true. Try and put yourself into their shoes.