Fear and Loathing in the Time of Covid-19 | Cassandra Voices

Fear and Loathing in the Time of Covid-19


Fear plays a major role in influencing the decisions we make and the actions we engage in. Research has shown that there are sound evolutionary reasons for this. The selection pressures from these types of danger have resulted in domain-specificity in the reactivity of the fear system, meaning that the system has evolved special sensitivity toward such dangers. However, ‘not all human fears are instinctual and hardwired—we need to learn what to be afraid of. [i] While this capacity is critical in helping humans deal with the different environments in which they find themselves and which present different sources of ‘danger’, it can also be abused by those seeking to advance their own interests at our expense.

Harnessing Fear in the name of ‘Sales’

The power of fear has long been recognised as a potential source of profit by the business world. Preying on anxieties and ‘creating’ new ones when required to suit their needs, marketing departments have managed to exploit human fears to successfully boost client sales. As Kali Halloway writes: ‘Listerine’s 1920s ads turned bad breath from a fairly common minor flaw into halitosis, a condition that made you into a social pariah, sexless and alone,’ – leading to an increase in sales in just seven years from $115,000 to over $8 million. ‘In the 1930s, Lysol – a product we now know should be kept as far from genitalia as possible – was marketed as a douche (and more covertly, as feminine birth control), in ads that basically told women no one would ever love them with their awful natural-smelling vaginas.[ii]

Indeed, even the threat posed by pandemics have provided grist to the mill for opportunistic marketing teams, keen to leverage the fear generated in their diffusion. According to Barry Shafe, the former head of Cussons product development and man behind the launch of Carex in the UK during the SARS epidemic, ‘background noise of pandemic fear was all that was needed to drive consumers to antibacterial soap.’ There was no need to even emphasise the element of fear in their advertising for the project as ‘real fear sells better than invented fear.’[iii]

While the manipulation of the public’s purchasing choices through exploiting the evolutionary programmed and adapted prism of the human ‘fear emotion’, is at the very least questionable, it is only the tip of the iceberg in this respect.

Ad extracted from a scanned copy of the pulp magazine Weird Tales from 1950,

Fear and Hatred in Times of Plague

In times of plague and pestilence, fear is an omnipresent companion. This fear all too frequently translates into a desire to find someone to blame for the danger with which we are faced. The greater the threat to people’s safety and the less control they can exercise over it, the greater the risk that blame for their dilemma will be ascribed to an ‘outside’ group, generally those who are not members of one’s community or nation, no matter how transparently illogical the reasoning.

As Dr. Jonathan Quick writes:

We are all afraid of death. We respond to the fear of epidemic disease by wanting to blame someone else. Anytime a threat arises, we want to blame the “other,” those not like “us.” At the outbreak of the 1918 Spanish flu, Americans blamed “the Hun”. AIDS was blamed on gay men.[iv]

During the Black Death, which struck Europe in the mid-14th century, there was widespread fear and panic as this unknown disease wreaked havoc throughout Europe. Although communities around Europe often turned upon those seen as outsiders, particularly other nationalities, the Jewish community became the primary focus of this fear. This resulted in horrific instances such as the massacres of Jewish people in Frankfurt and Brussels and the extermination of the Jewish populations in Narbonne and Carcassonne.[v]

Representation of a massacre of the Jews in 1349 Antiquitates Flandriae (Royal Library of Belgium manuscript 1376/77).

‘Fake News’

The predilection to blame outsiders, the ‘other’ for the spread of infectious diseases, is further aggravated by the propagation and dissemination of false rumours. The author Maryn McKenna, who researched this phenomenon during the Ebola crisis came up with a term for this, ‘Ebolanoia’. Tracking public response to Ebola in the U.S., McKenna related how individuals and businesses that had been incorrectly identified as having been exposed to Ebola suffered as a result.

False rumors caused a small, long-standing, family-owned bridal shop in Ohio to close. Rumors forced healthy school personnel and students in North Carolina and Texas who had visited West Africa to stay out of school, even though they were thousands of miles from the nearest Ebola outbreak. Misinformation fomented harassment of African-born students as well as other acts of fear and discrimination.[vi]

The anti-Chinese messages currently being circulated in the mainstream media and through social media are generally linked by their proponents to a desire to hold China as accountable for both the spread and deadly impact of Covid-19. While some of these inferences have been less direct, casting suspicion and opprobrium on China and the Chinese people by association, others have given free rein to their racist impulses, such as the French newspaper that proudly displayed the headline ‘Yellow Alert’.[vii]

Dubious as these assertions are in the first place, they are made even worse by the conflation of ordinary Chinese people with the purported misdeeds of China, which has led to serious racist incidents and discrimination against Chinese people around the world. Furthermore, it behoves us to remember that the racist slandering of Chinese people is not occurring in an historical vacuum. It, in fact, stands on the shoulders on a substantial corpus of anti-Chinese racism that has been present for well over a hundred years.

‘Yellow Peril’

The likelihood that a specific outside group – ethnic, religious, etc – will be stigmatised and discriminated against, as well as the severity of the reaction, will be influenced by the history of how these people have been regarded in the past.

As a child growing up, I remember hearing the phrase ‘yellow peril’. I had no idea what this term meant or referred to apart from the fact that it in some way indicated a potential threat. However, like so many phrases that slipped into everyday usage, divorced from their original context, the phrase ‘yellow peril’ has an insidious and disturbing history. As Vince Cable, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, writes:

In the early years of the 20th century there was a deep fear among western societies, expressed both in politics and popular writing, that they were in danger of being overwhelmed by the Chinese: the “Yellow Peril”. Children’s comics were full of the exploits of the evil Dr Fu Manchu, a Bond-type villain bent on world domination. Even serious writers such as Jack London perpetuated the myth. In 1911, the British Home Office circulated material which warned of a “vast and compulsive armageddon to decide who is to be a master of the world; the white or yellow men”.[viii]

Anti-Chinese violence in Britain and the ‘Empire’

19th and early 20th century society in Britain overtly displayed its anti-Chinese sentiments. Racist depictions of Chinese were widespread in the media and this had a knock-on effect, impacting how they were dealt with by the judicial system and in other areas of daily life.[ix] Anti-Chinese feeling even led to acts of violent aggression against the Chinese community. Discussing the current racist violence against the Chinese in Britain, Suresh Grover of The Monitoring Group explains, ‘[T]he experience of racism against the Chinese community is not a new feature in British society” with “reports of race riots targeting Chinese businesses and laundries as early as 1919.’[x]

This racist attitude towards Chinese people was rife throughout the ‘Empire’. Schools were segregated in Victoria during the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century[xi] and in British Columbia Chinese Canadians were subject to social, economic and political segregation.[xii] According to OmiSoore Dryden the James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies in the Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine:

Anti-Chinese racism has a long history in Canada — the Chinese head tax, the Exclusion Act, just to name two. Chinese people were often referred to as the “Yellow Peril” — a plague, something that would bring destruction to white people and colonial Canada.[xiii]

These racist incidents and stereotyping of Chinese was based on a sentiment of ‘white’ superiority over other races that justified a discriminatory treatment of these people. This feeling of racial superiority is perfectly captured in the following quotation from Edmund Barton, the first prime minister of Australia, when discussing the Immigration Restriction Bill in 1901:

There is no racial equality. There is basic inequality. These races are, in comparison with white races … unequal and inferior. The doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of the Englishman and the Chinaman. There is deep-set difference, and we see no prospect and no promise of its ever being effaced. Nothing in this world can put these two races upon an equality. Nothing we can do by cultivation, by refinement, or by anything else will make some races equal to others.

Anti-Chinese Violence and Segregation in 19th and 20th century U.S.

An 1886 advertisement for ‘Magic Washer’ detergent: ‘The Chinese Must Go’.

It was racist stereotypes such as these that led to widespread discrimination and segregation of Chinese people, particularly in predominantly ‘Anglo-Saxon’ countries. In the U.S. for example there were many instances of white people violently assaulting Chinese communities. In 1885, 150 armed white miners forcibly expulsed Chinese immigrations out of Rock Springs (Wyoming), murdering 28 people and burning the homes and businesses of members of the Chinese community. This massacre went unpunished. This incident, however, was only one of many. As Brayden Goyette writes, in the 1870s and 1880s, there were 153 anti-Chinese riots that broke out in the American West.[xiv] According to the historian James Mohr:

…in Honolulu, doctors, colonial administrators, and the general US colonial population lamented the outbreak of bubonic plague in 1900 because it prompted fears that the city would become associated with Asia, where plague was then present… Ultimately, the public health authorities burned contaminated buildings, but fires spread beyond their control and consumed most of Chinatown in flames. Similar anti-Chinese responses occurred in San Francisco during the plague epidemic of 1900–04, when Chinese-specific quarantines were enacted.[xv]

The insecure environment within which the Chinese found themselves led to a process of self-segregation by the Chinese to safeguard their communities and families. As John Kuo Wei Tchen, chair of public history and humanities at Rutgers University and co-founder of the Museum of Chinese in America in New York explains, ‘[T]he Chinatowns we know today — in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles — are really the consequence of the exclusion laws, which created the conditions, between racism and the law itself, for segregated, isolated Chinatowns.’[xvi]

The continuing plague of Anti-Chinese Racism

According to Suresh Grover, the 2001 Foot and Mouth crisis, saw a distinct increase in racist incidents against the Chinese community ‘due to the unsubstantiated smear that the disease had spread from a Chinese restaurant using illegally imported meat.’[xvii]

A 2009 review on the racism experienced by Chinese people, conducted by the University of Hull and The Monitoring Group (TMG), concluded that the Chinese community was subjected to significant level of anti-Chinese racism in Britain:

The UK Chinese people are subject to substantial levels of racist abuse, assault and hostility. The types of racist abuse suffered by the UK’s Chinese people range from racist name-calling to damage to property and businesses, arson, and physical attacks sometimes involving hospitalisation and murder.[xviii]

This racism can be quite insidious and permeate virtually every area of daily life, even where one might least expect it. Writing about the racism experienced by Chinese people, the actress Elizabet Chan describes how on her first role, ‘the Bafta-winning director chuckled to everyone on set that I’d trained in kung fu,’ and how in her field ‘any character who speaks in some kind of dodgy east Asian accent is considered hilarious.’[xix]

The racism that continues to permeate is inappropriately nourished by the racist tropes of our past. As Sophie Couchman, a curator at the Chinese Museum in Victoria state, states,

It is disappointing that the same language is still used, certain words we used in the 19th century to talk about Chinese immigration – ‘influx’ and ‘swamped’ – and it’s all these sort of monsoonal words.

Covid-19 and upsurge in anti-Chinese racism

The current Covid-19 crisis has seen a dramatic rise in racist assaults on Chinese people globally as a result of their stigmatisation on traditional as well as newer social media. A major contributing factor in this rise has been the reckless use of derogatory references to China by elected politicians. The most egregious example of this is of course the U.S. president, Donald Trump, who on numerous occasions referred to ‘coronavirus’ as the ‘Chinese virus’.[xx]

In the U.K., there have been numerous incidents of violence perpetrated against Chinese people as well as other East Asian people mis-identified by their assailants as being of Chinese origin. Reported incidents include,

confirmed reports of incidents of serious assaults against Chinese students by large groups of white youth … abuse in supermarkets and Chinese owned Take-away businesses, racist graffiti on shop windows and physical violence on the streets or around international student hostels… a Japanese person … greeted as Chinese and then deliberately urinated upon … the attack on the young man from Singapore who was beaten up in February by youths who punched him in the face before shouting out ‘coronavirus’ .. on Oxford Street, one of the busiest streets in the world.[xxi]

Ireland has not been immune to this reaction on the part of its citizens, as was evident in the racist attack on a Chinese restaurant in Galway.[xxii] The anti-Chinese reaction, provoked by Covid-19 has also been widespread in Asia, where restaurants in South Korea displayed ‘No Chinese allowed’ signs in the early stages of the pandemic, Twitter users in Japan initiated the hashtag #ChineseDontComeToJapan trend and over 125,000 people in Singapore, added their names to a petition urging their government to prevent Chinese nationals from entering the city-state.[xxiii]

Promotion of anti-Chinese racism

The perfect storm of victimising the ‘other’, arises the ‘desire’ to blame the other for one’s predicament is seized upon by ideologues to promote their objectives or, in the case of political, business and religious leaders to cover up their own inadequate or misdirected efforts to tackle the threat. The willingness of prominent politicians with large constituencies of ‘followers’, to promote a ‘Blame China’ narrative has contributed significantly to the upsurge in the targeting of the  UK’s Chinese and South East Asian communities.[xxiv]

There are two principal reasons why political and other major economic and social figures in the Global North are seizing upon this opportunity to stigmatize China.

At the broader level, the emergence of China, particularly in terms of its’ economic and technical expansion, has created unease and anxiety amongst many in both the US and Europe, as they fear their position of economic and political dominance is being threatened. As the journalist Patrick Cockburn observes while:

Many politically palatable reasons… will be advanced in the coming months… the real charge against China is one of effectiveness. It has shown itself more competent than other powerful states in dealing with two world crises: the 2008 financial crisis and the pandemic of 2019-20.[xxv]

A secondary and, in the case of leaders such as Trump who have completely mishandled the Covid-19 crisis, more immediate goal is to indict, criminalise and convict China in the court of public opinion, thus distracting from their own ineptitude in a desperate effort to revitalise their political prospects. Now, rather than being seen as the principal architects of the disastrous response to Covid-19 which has resulted in many thousands of death, political leaders in Covid-19 ravaged countries can depict themselves as righteous defenders of their nation’s security and safety against the new ‘yellow peril’.

Fudging Statistics

One of the major excuses for the political onslaught against China has been the alleged fudging of statistics on the number of fatalities and case incidents in Wuhan and how this may have impacted upon the measures the U.S. and Europe implemented to tackle the virus.[xxvi] The thesis appears to be that if more cases and more deaths had been reported early on by the Chinese authorities, this would have conveyed the seriousness of the threat to the political leaders in the U.S. and Europe. The authorities in these countries would then have taken the threat of Covid-19 more seriously and ensured appropriate measures were in place to minimise its impact on their countries and citizens.

Covid-19 was a new virus and therefore required a certain amount of time to be identified and its exact nature determined. It is more than possible that the number of fatalities and cases was greater in China than recorded and that its virulence was therefore underestimated initially. It is also likely that at the earlier stages many cases were not identified and that it was circulating earlier and more widely than initially thought. We have seen in the past week or so, reports emerging from several countries including, inter alia, France and the U.S, that cases were present well in advance of earlier estimations.[xxvii] Ireland probably also had cases prior to initially believed, as this coronavirus might actually have reached Irish shores as early as last year.[xxviii]

It is clear that if there was a significant excedent of cases and fatalities above those initially communicated by China to the international community that this could be argued to have made the new virus appear less threatening that it actually was. However, the reports on the level of fatalities and cases received by the international community were the same for all. Yet, despite this, countries such as Viet Nam, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Cuba, and several others were able to introduce measures to effectively minimise the spread and impact of this coronavirus, others failed miserably.

A case in point is that of Viet Nam. In Viet Nam, as of May 7th, there were only 288 confirmed cases with no reported fatalities.[xxix] This low incidence of cases has been achieved despite the fact that Viet Nam has a population of over 90 million, shares a lengthy border with China, has a relatively weak health sector, compared to wealthier countries, and the inability to carry out widespread testing as was the case in South Korea. Critical to the success of Viet Nam in tackling Covid-19 has been the stringent and effective measures imposed by the authorities there, a united political will and the social discipline and unity of the Vietnamese people along with building on the lessons learned from dealing with previous epidemics.[xxx]

This would appear to indicate that irrespective of the validity of the charges against China with respect to their transmission of the number of cases and fatalities,  the information provided by China was sufficient for appropriate prevention and containment measures to be implemented.

International Fudging?

Fellipe Lopes/Cassandra Voices

Furthermore, there is reason to doubt much of the figures that have been reported internationally on both fatalities and incidence of cases.

Ireland has encountered several difficulties in providing reliable and up-to-date statistics on Covid-19 in Ireland and adjustments have already had to be made to previously supplied totals. Ireland has also had issues with respect to delays in testing[xxxi] resulting in late updating of coronavirus figures, false negatives[xxxii] and the tragic case of an 89-year-old man who died of the virus before even receiving his results[xxxiii], which would appear to confirm the belief that we will see more amendments to the current totals further down the road. The accuracy of the numbers provided of people infected has also been criticised by members of the health service involved in treating patients directly.[xxxiv]

There are serious grounds on which to question the figures that the United Kingdom has reported. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the UK estimated that the actual number of deaths in England and Wales up to April 17, and registered to April 25 were some 23,000, some 6,375 higher than the figures by NHS England and Public Health Wales collectively, which were only documenting hospital deaths.[xxxv] However, on the 28th of April, the day before the UK started to include non-hospital Covid-19 related deaths, the Health Ministry announced the total deaths for the UK were 21,092 in hospital settings, still less than the number provided by the ONS for 11 days earlier and which only covered England and Wales[xxxvi]. The Financial Times in a report, which generated significant attention, estimated that, in fact, the actual death total in the UK would be over twice the figure reported.[xxxvii]

A further issue arises in trying to engage in international comparison of available statistics, in particular the fatality rate per confirmed cases. As it currently stands on May 7th, the number of confirmed cases in Ireland amounts to 22,385, with a reported mortality total of 1,403.[xxxviii] This is a mortality rate of just under 6.3 % relative to the number of confirmed cases. In the U.K., the total confirmed cases on the same day was 215,858, with 29,958 deaths recorded. This equates to a mortality rate of 13.9% of the identified cases. While allowance needs to be made for the fact that countries are at different stage of the Covid-19 curve, this can hardly fully explain the dramatic differences in these statistics.

Cooperation and Respect

As Patrick Cockburn writes, the approach of the Trump administration in promoting a form of cold war against China is highly irresponsible given the need at this time for a ‘global medical and economic response… to counter a virus that has spread from Tajikistan to the upper Amazon and can only be suppressed or contained by international action.’[xxxix]

It is not only in tackling Covid-19 now that such cooperation is essential. If we are to ensure the global protection of humanity, of all people wherever they may live, we need to establish an international framework through which we can all contribute to the future protection of our species, in an atmosphere of mutual respect free from discrimination and racist slurs.

As OmiSoore Dryden remarks,

…racist stereotype causes harm, not only to Chinese people and to Asian people, but to all of us. Viruses are not caused by a specific people. Gay people and African people did not create HIV. Chinese people did not create SARS or COVID-19. These types of racist stereotypes are diversionary tactics that do nothing to stop the spread of viruses.[xl] 

The Way Forward?

Writing in 2004, Christopher Duncan, a zoologist and Susan Scott, a social historian, noted that since 1970, some 34 years, [A]t least 30 previously unknown infectious diseases for which there is no fully effective treatment have appeared… more than are known to have emerged in the preceding 3,000 years.”[xli]

The zoologist Peter Daszak, president of the New York – based EcoHealth Alliance, has researched coronaviruses and inter-species transmission of viruses in China. In 2013, he suggested that given the ability of coronaviruses to rapidly move between species, that it would be advisable to made an investment of about $1.5bn. which he estimated would enable the discovery of ‘all the viruses in mammals.’ This would permit the development of the required vaccines and test kids to successful cope with and stop the first stage of new infection disease emergences.[xlii]

If Daszak’s advice had been heeded when it was made back in 2013, it is quite possible that we might have been able to effectively stop Covid-19 at source or at least severely impede its progress, thus buying time for the implementation of the required measures to eradicate its threat. Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing but while we can’t turn back the hands of time, we need to prepare for the future and other potential viruses. The past 20 years have seen the emergence of a growing number of infectious diseases– SARS, MERs, Zika… It is therefore imperative we come together as an international community and pool our cumulative resources to formulate policies and put in place measures to protect ourselves from future potential threats. The stigmatisation and abusive racialisation of nations or people has no place in this process and we must reject it absolutely.

Final Thought

As Prabir Purkayaashta writes, [T]he Covid-19 pandemic is only uncovering the deeper fissures that are already existing, and widening existing fault lines in the world.[xliii] We need to be vigilant to this, particularly the appalling legacy of anti-Chinese racism at this time, though we should also remember that the colonial empires of the European nations as well as the expropriation of U.S, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and other lands from indigenous peoples were based upon an all pervasive racist ideology that also targeted many other peoples.

I would just like to conclude with what a quotation from Melanie Coates which it eloquently summarises our current situation as well as how the current pandemic of anti-Chinese racism should be tackled.

In this torrent of fear and anxiety, we cannot afford to isolate people even more through stigma and xenophobia; we each have a responsibility to support each other and advocate for a better society. Those with the loudest voice—the government and media—must speak out to condemn these actions. They have a duty to educate the public, protect the vulnerable, and hold people accountable for prejudice and discrimination. By staying silent we let xenophobic narratives—specifically, anti-Asian sentiment—and racist attacks damage our society, the repercussions of which will likely persist beyond the pandemic.[xliv]

[i] Mathias Clasen, How Evolution Designed Your Fear, Nautilus, 27 October 2017, http://nautil.us/issue/53/monsters/how-evolution-designed-your-fear

[ii] Kali Holloway, Fear Sells, and We’re All Buying: How Marketers Channel Dark Forces to Rake in Billions, Alternet, 15 March 2015, https://www.alternet.org/2015/03/fear-sells-and-were-all-buying-how-marketers-channel-dark-forces-rake-billions/

[iii] Jacques Peretti, SUVs, handwash and FOMO: how the advertising industry embraced fear, The Guardian, 6 July 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/jul/06/how-advertising-industry-concept-fear

[iv] Dr. Jonathan D. Quick, The End of Epidemics: The Looming Threat to Humanity and How to Stop it, Scribe Publications, Brunswick (Victoria) Australia / London U.K., p. 18

[v] Sean Martin, The Black Death, 2007, Pocket Essentials Harpenden (Herts), p. 75

[vi] Ibid, p. 151

[vii] Alan McLeod, As Coronavirus Spreads So Does Anti-Chinese Racism, MintPress News, 31 January 2020, https://www.mintpressnews.com/coronavirus-spreads-anti-chinese-racism/264546/ z

[viii] Vince Cable, America is rekindling the dangerous myth of the ‘Yellow Peril’ to wage a new war with China, The Independent (UK), 5 May 2020, https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/china-coronavirus-trump-us-yellow-peril-cold-war-a9499221.html

[ix] Sascha Auerbach, Race, Law, and “The Chinese Puzzle” in Imperial Britain, Palgrave Macmillan (Basingstoke, Hampshire), 2012

[x] Liz Fekete (interview with Suresh Grover and Dorothea Jones of TMG), Race hate crimes – collateral damage of Covid-19?, 20 April 2020, http://www.irr.org.uk/news/race-hate-crimes-collateral-damage-of-covid-19/

[xi] Jesse Robertson, Chinese Students Challenge Segregation, Canada’s History, 31 March 2016, https://www.canadashistory.ca/explore/peace-conflict/chinese-students-challenge-segregation

[xii] British Columbia Consultation Process, Discrimination, British Columbia Consultation Process website, accessed 8 May 2020, https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/multiculturalism-anti-racism/chinese-legacy-bc/history/discrimination

[xiii] El Jones, Racist tropes about COVID-19 echo the long history of anti-Asian stereotyping, Halifax Examiner, 21 March 2020, https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/featured/racist-tropes-about-covid-19-echo-the-long-history-of-anti-asian-stereoyping/

[xiv] Braden Goyette, How Racism Created America’s Chinatowns, HuffPost, 22 May 2019,  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/american-chinatowns-history_n_6090692?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuYmluZy5jb20vc2VhcmNoP3E9YW50aS1jaGluZXNlK3JhY2lzbStoaXN0b3J5JnFzPW4mc3A9LTEmcHE9YW50aS1jaGluZXNlK3JhY2lzbStoaXMmc2M9MC0yMyZzaz0mY3ZpZD0zOTgyOUFGMUE4OTY0NERDOTI2QzlDM0M2QzRGNUNBMSZmaXJzdD03JkZPUk09UEVSRQ&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAELCOEV2ALOukZvuaYLPfFDs17vSB7GnxzElQFI86JDKtAg1c6SkgceU_7eL5sDYSxJ4pbBCIbVCm0a31WLOaL0Y86iT83FNLSJZRoY8RCXx_v_5stbVDikryd6FMC-zGjmmYCkSSzT83zKX1arVii_gxaFliXQrbz6500CREzPt

[xv] Alexander I R White, Historical linkages: epidemic threat, economic risk, and xenophobia, The Lancet, 27 March 2020, p. 1251, https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2820%2930737-6

[xvi] Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, How 1800s racism birthed Chinatown, Japantown and other ethnic enclaves, NBC News, 13 May 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/how-1800s-racism-birthed-chinatown-japantown-other-ethnic-enclaves-n997296

[xvii] Liz Fekete, ibid

[xviii] COLE, Bankole, ADAMSON, Sue, CRAIG, Gary, HUSSAIN, Basharat, SMITH, Luana, LAW, Ian, LAU, Carmen, CHAN, Chak-Kwan and CHEUNG, Tom, Hidden from public view: racism against UK Chinese (Technical Report), Hull University and The Monitoring Group, 2009, http://shura.shu.ac.uk/10529/1/Cole_Hidden_From_Public_View_-_English.pdf

[xix] Elizabeth Chan, Chinese Britons have put up with racism for too long, The Guardian, 11 January 2012, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jan/11/british-chinese-racism

[xx] Vijay Prashad, Du Xiaojun – Weiyan Zhu, Growing Xenophobia Against China in the Midst of CoronaShock, Counterpunch, 31 March 2020, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/03/31/growing-xenophobia-against-china-in-the-midst-of-coronashock/

[xxi] Ibid

[xxii] Jack Beresford, Disturbing footage emerges online of alleged racist attack on Chinese restaurant in Galway, The Irish Post, 17 April 2020, https://www.irishpost.com/news/disturbing-footage-emerges-online-alleged-racist-attack-chinese-restaurant-galway-183680

[xxiii] Marco della Cava and Kristin Lam, Coronavirus is spreading. And so is anti-Chinese sentiment and xenophobia, USA Today, 3 February 2020, https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/01/31/coronavirus-chinese-xenophobia-racism-misinformation/2860391001/

[xxiv] Liz Fekete, ibid

[xxv] Patrick Cockburn, Trump is Igniting a Cold War With China to Try to Win Re-election, The Independent, 5 May 2020, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/05/05/trump-is-igniting-a-cold-war-with-china-to-try-to-win-re-election/

[xxvi] Nick Wadhams and Jennifer Jacobs, China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says, Bloomberg, 1 April 2020 (updated 2 April), https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-04-01/china-concealed-extent-of-virus-outbreak-u-s-intelligence-says

[xxvii] Holly Chik and Simone McCarthy, Coronavirus timeline takes a twist after early case identified in France, South China Morning Post, 6 May 2020, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3083081/britains-coronavirus-cases-came-mainly-europe-not-china

[xxviii] Marie O’Halloran, Coronavirus may have been in Ireland last year, Taoiseach says, Irish Times, 7 May 2020, https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/oireachtas/coronavirus-may-have-been-in-ireland-last-year-taoiseach-says-1.4247423

[xxix] John Hopkins University of Medicine, Coronavirus Resource Centre, John Hopkins, accessed 7 May 2020, https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

[xxx] Michael Sullivan, In Vietnam, There Have Been Fewer Than 300 COVID-19 Cases And No Deaths. Here’s Why, National Public Radio (U.S.), 16 April 2020, https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/16/835748673/in-vietnam-there-have-been-fewer-than-300-covid-19-cases-and-no-deaths-heres-why; Sean Fleming, Viet Nam shows how you can contain COVID-19 with limited resources, World Economic Forum, 30 March 2020, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/vietnam-contain-covid-19-limited-resources/

[xxxi] Mark O’Brien, Coronavirus Ireland: Testing for COVID-19 slammed as ‘disaster’ as screening slows to trickle at Croke Park, Dublin Live, 10 April 2020, https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/other/coronavirus-ireland-testing-for-covid-19-slammed-as-disaster-as-screening-slows-to-trickle-at-croke-park/ar-BB12rXXm

[xxxii] Ronan Smyth, HSE says ‘fewer than 100’ wrongly told they had tested negative for Covid-19, Extra.ie, 14 April 2020, https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/uknews/hse-says-e2-80-98fewer-than-100-e2-80-99-wrongly-told-they-had-tested-negative-for-covid-19/ar-BB12CFcb

[xxxiii] Adam Daly, 89-year-old man who died in nursing home had been waiting 15 days for Covid-19 test result, TheJournal.ie, 09 April 2020, https://www.msn.com/en-ie/news/coronavirus/89-year-old-man-who-died-in-nursing-home-had-been-waiting-15-days-for-covid-19-test-result/ar-BB12oMVg

[xxxiv] Cianan Brennan, ‘The numbers are being fudged’, says nurse who brands testing regime an ‘omnishambles’, 15 April 2020, https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/the-numbers-are-being-fudged-says-nurse-who-brands-testing-regime-an-omnishambles-994236.html

[xxxv] Jasmin Gray, Coronavirus Linked To 40% More Deaths In England And Wales Than Previously Thought, HuffPost, 28 April 2020, https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/ons-coronavirus-deaths-april-17_uk_5ea7dd4fc5b6085825788762

[xxxvi] RTE News, UK Covid-19 death toll rises as care home deaths included, RTE, 28 April 2020,

[xxxvii] John Burn-Murdoch, Valentina Romei and Chris Giles, Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported, Financial Times, 26 April 2020, https://www.ft.com/content/6bd88b7d-3386-4543-b2e9-0d5c6fac846c

[xxxviii] RTE, 29 more deaths, 137 new cases of Covid-19, RTE Coronavirus News, 7 May 2020, https://www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/0507/1137105-covid-19-figures/

[xxxix] Patrick Cockburn, ibid

[xl] El Jones, ibid

[xli] Susan Scott and Christopher Duncan, Return of the Black Death, 2005, Wiley Chichester (West Sussex), p. 279

[xlii] W. T. Whitney, COVID 19: Think Science and the People, Counterpunch, 30 April 2020, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/30/covid-19-think-science-and-the-people/

[xliii] Prabir Purkayastha, US Trade War against China Takes a Coronaviral Turn, Newsclick India, 01 May 2020, https://www.newsclick.in/US-trade-war-china-takes-coronaviral-turn

[xliv] Melanie Coates, ibid


About Author

For over twenty years Justin Frewen has worked in the field of international development and humanitarian issues for the U.N. and others, including in Guinea during the Ebola crisis. His writing has been published by The Irish Times, Village, The Sunday Business Post, Politico.ie, Magill, Irish Medical Times, The Wanganui Chronicle (NZ), The New Shetlander etc.

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