The Mental Side Effects of the Coronavirus

Lucas Jansen, Staff Writer

Lucas Jansen Mia Chu is an Asian American student at Woodside.

Racism, xenophobia, and paranoia are spreading around the Bay Area and beyond due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, generating false ideas and discrimination towards Asian Americans.

With 14 cases of coronavirus reported here in the Bay Area, concern is growing rapidly as the disease comes closer to home. The virus’s effects have been contained, as the few cases reported have been quarantined. However, the impact of the virus is still felt in our community.

The disease originated at a fish market near the southeastern Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, and it quickly spread far beyond  China, with tens of thousands of confirmed cases around the world. Since there have been 2700 confirmed deaths from the virus as of February 26, the disease has still caused people to become cautious and fearful for their families.

Additionally, new consequences have arisen among many in the Asian American community: fear and separation.

“My mom told me not to label myself as Chinese in public because she was afraid that I might be a victim of the discrimination,” said Mia Chu, a Woodside sophomore who is Asian American.

Because of the coronavirus’s Chinese origin, many have given in to paranoia and blamed Asian Americans for the virus; some even think that all Asian Americans have the disease.

“She brought it here,” exclaimed an anonymous Woodside student, gesturing at Asian American sophomore Mia Hua nearby.

This type of discrimination faced by Asian American students can be felt all around the Bay Area, with many areas normally populated by Asian Americans becoming somewhat abandoned out of fear.

“If you go to Asian markets, everyone is wearing masks and the place is emptier,” said Hua.

The real problem, however, is the opportunities lost because of the disease, as fear is isolating Asian Americans right here at Woodside High School. 

“When I sat down in my class, people turned away and covered their mouths,” said Chu. “They started making jokes about how I had [the coronavirus] because I’m Asian, which only spread the racist ideas around more.”

Lucas Jansen
Mia Chu and Mia Hua sit alone at a table in the library.

These issues are part of a much larger problem that has persisted in the United States for hundreds of years. Discrimination is still separating people, and the coronavirus has only become another cause of the issue.

“I don’t think there is a simple solution. There has never been a simple solution to racism before,” said Chu. “People are just afraid of those who are different from them.”