Do viruses have nationalities?

The recent pandemic is not only spreading coronavirus but, we can also see increased xenophobia towards Chinese and other East Asians. And, sadly this level of xenophobia can also be observed by national leaders when they refer to the virus as ‘Chinese Virus’.

Recently, a report in the New York Times titled “Spit On, Yelled At, Attacked: Chinese-Americans Fear for Their Safety” was concerning.

Citizens originating from the Northeastern states in India have been subjected to similar abuse in other parts of India. India Today’s article recently read “Verbally abused, spat at, harassed: Northeastern citizens come under attack amid coronavirus panic

“My fear is coughing in public, coughing while Asian, and the reaction other people will have.” These words were spoken by Chou, associate professor of sociology at Georgia State University.

Clearly, we can see the psychological impact of this virus on people who haven't even been tested positive. It is easy to blame a certain country for the mass panic. But, what it really is doing is- instilling a worldwide racist sentiment. And, this is not healthy.

My latest research shows that misinformation can greatly impact our memories of faces, and the recreation of those, in the form of facial composites. This was done in a witness memory of a made-up crime scenario. And, the tests were done online. Though it is difficult to generalise the results, I wonder, what the lasting impact of this virus would have on the universal consciousness and memories of global citizens. We can ask ourselves, what can we do as mental health professionals, researchers, and educated professionals to bring a change at the thought level?

In the aftermath and containment of this outbreak, the hope is that we do not let racism prevail as it did for the Japenese people post-Word War II.

The virus is known to affect our bodies. And the trend shows that maximum people recover but, the real recovery would be when we fully win the fights against the racist backlash towards some ethnicities.

Some Useful Links about Corona Virus to combat misinformation about the virus:

John Hopkins University Resources
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