2019 nCoV: It's just a virus

The last day of 2019 left the world in a shock. December 31st, 2019, was the day that it was first reported from Wuhan, China that there was a Novel Coronavirus outbreak amongst their citizens. Since then, there have been an influx of cases of this virus in China and it has begun to spread to many other countries rapidly. Naturally, this caused a huge panic across the world – if you couldn’t already tell by the massive global news coverage...

There has been extensive media coverage worldwide regarding the outspread of the virus. Journalists from all over have covered the basics: the death toll, where it came from, ways to prevent the infection, and the economic impact of it.  Despite the massive panic that has occurred all over the world, I think the most important thing is to breathe for a minute and get educated! What is the ‘coronavirus’? 

Coronavirus isn’t actually the virus itself. The term “coronavirus” is actually used to address a large group of viruses. This umbrella term comes from the physical make-up of the virus. It’s made up of a core of genetic material surrounded by an envelope with protein spikes (World Health Organization). This gives it the appearance of a crown and the Latin word for crown is ‘Corona.’ There are numerous different types of coronaviruses, a few that I’m sure you may remember, such as SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Coronaviruses are transmitted similarly to how the common cold or flu gets passed around. This new strain of coronavirus has not been previously identified in humans – which is why it’s called Novel Coronavirus (nCoV). There are no vaccines to cure the disease yet but there are standard hygienic practices to protect yourself (i.e. covering your mouth when coughing/sneezing, always washing your hands, refrain from touching your face when you’re in public, etc.)

Anyway, now that you have more of an understanding about coronavirus, we can talk about the real reason why I’m writing this article. When something goes global like this, the racism and hate in peoples hearts becomes transparent. Social media has an impressive yet frightening way of spreading information. Facts get twisted, real problems get turned into jokes, people who are genuinely hurting are ridiculed and belittled, and the innocent truly suffers. 

I’ll dive right in with the most common, racist, and highly incorrect statement that has been going around, 

“Chinese people will give you the coronavirus.” 

I’ll shut you down right there, a virus knows NO race. None. Science knows no faith, religion, ethnicity, and NO discrimination. This divide amongst the world’s population was completely fashioned by the people and whether that means the most powerful governments or society itself, it shows the lack of humanity in those around us. 

Those who physically appear to be Asian are at a significantly higher risk for harassment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People. Are. Merciless.Children are being severely bullied, seniors are being attacked, businesses are losing customers, and it is truly heartbreaking. The Asian population all over the world, not just in China or Canada, is in agony at the hands of misinformed, xenophobic individuals. 

This virus has spread globally and rather than showing support for one another, the world divides itself. Why? We are ALL susceptible to this illness. Why discriminate against a group of people who are suffering already as it is? During a pandemic, you would think this is the time people would come together and offer support and kindness instead. 

If you’re someone who has genuine concern for health and safety, don’t let the internet tell you what to think. Take the initiative to find out the REAL facts. Do your part in preventing the spread of the infection (yes, this means less or no more partying… sorry students, I think a pandemic calls for a pause in your social life.) 

Toilet paper won’t save you, Chinese food will NOT give you coronavirus, and no… you’re not just playing it safe, you’re being a racist. Be considerate to those around you who share the same fears and who may be suffering more than you are. But most of all, be human.