DALY CITY, Calif. - In an effort to calm fears and anti-Asian sentiment, top San Mateo County government and medical officials held a news conference at Daly City's NEMS, the North East Medical Services. Some of the news about the coronavirus was hopeful, but news about bad human conduct was dismaying.
Officials reported that there have been dozens of documented instances of racist comments, discrimination and violence against Asian-Americans over issues surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19).
"We are seeing a global rise in anti Asian-American discrimination because of the virus," said San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa.
This is happening even though there is little or none of the virus to be found.
"The immediate risk to the San Francisco Bay Area residents is extremely low and there are no active cases in San Mateo County currently," said NEMS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kenneth Tai.
Though there are no vaccinations or medicines to treat the virus, quarantine and patient care are working. "There are only 15 confirmed cases in the U.S. with five cases in the San Francisco Area," said Dr. Tai.
Others who asked to be tested were found not infected and cleared. Compared to the relative minor impact of coronavirus in the U.S., the far greater threat is influenza. In recent months, 26 million Americans got the flu, required a quarter million hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths.
Nonetheless, officials say California Asian Americans have experienced 75 instances of documented hate, racism and discrimination.
"Race, ethnicity, cultural background are not risk factors for respiratory illness," said San Mateo County Health Department's Glenn Ibarrentios. Though it's true that the SARS virus, a few years ago, was originated in China, the MERS virus originated in the Middle East. And, the simple fact is that viruses emerge every corner of the globe and holding one group responsible for that is just plain unfair.