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In the past couple of weeks several Asians residing in USA have been avoiding to leave their houses because ever since the onset of the deadly corona virus the asian population have been suffering. There has been a significant rise in the anti asian incidents across the united states which is related to the pandemic. People have not been leaving their homes wearing face masks since they then stand out and become the subject of racism.
This was the situation where this population of asian Americans were going through during this period of pandemic. Later on, the CDC or the centre for disease control completely reversed this situation when they revised the guidelines and announced that people should wear a cloth face covering while leaving their house or going out in the open. This helped the Chinese community to feel a lot more secure to wear a face mask while going out.
With the exponential spreading of the virus in china the government worked effectively in enforcing the law of wearing a mask in all public places with the aim of lowering the person to person transmission rates. However, unlike china in USA the CDC mentioned that it was not needed for healthy people to wear cloth face coverings or masks since the experts said that they cannot prevent the inhaling of the airborne spreading of the virus particles. Although later on the director of national institute of allergy and infectious diseases admitted that this was said keeping in mind the shortage of PPE equipment. The emphasis has always been to protect the healthy people from the affected sick population.
The medical protocol is considered to have an unbiased view and represents only the universal truth of the world which in any case cannot be separated from politics and culture. A professor form chapman university tells us that the health beahaviours are a result of the norms that is imposed by a culture and their values. she also goes on to say that the response of the public in case of health regulations points towards a pattern which has already been set in place.
In case of the asian population everyone has always been used to wearing face masks while stepping out of the house to go out. In such a case not a single person has been said to be the carrier and the responsibility for the ending of this outbreak is shared communally. People are also concerned because sometimes you may not even know that you are a carrier so it is always safe to wear a face mask as a precautionary measure.
Asia alone has been the subject of various different types of pandemic for a duration of over 20 years. However sadly, many western nations lack type of collective memory where they were subjected to this type of a situation. The last pandemic that the US remembers was the Spanish flu in 1918 during which a world wide mask wearing effort was made and even made mandatory in some places.
Usage of masks in large scale was a preventive measure that can be seen reemerging in Asia as a result of the SARS pandemic during the years 2002-2003. A massive chunk of the Chinese population was strictly quarantined and the government had also effectively set up several checkpoints for temperature of the people in schools and other various public areas however most of the public areas were shut down for service. according to official sources this pandemic had resulted in 5,300 people being affected with 249 deaths.
People belonging to this Chinese community gathered many stories during the early stages of this worldwide pandemic during its early breakout stages. This was done via the Chinese social media and various such news platforms. According to them face masks played a vital role in curbing this outbreak. Keeping in mind that the virus is transferred in the form of droplets and can be entered through eyes, nose or mouth, wearing a face mask seemed like the perfect preventive measure.
However even after knowing this, the asian community of people were very hesitant in wearing it while going out in public spaces since people had started associating asian faces with crona virus which was very offensive.
Another study in the university of san Francisco state observed that over 1,000 cases that were reported between jan 28th and feb 24th mainly stemmed from xenophobia and intense racism towards asian Americans. This was the time when the first Covid 19 case was reported in America. After the president of USA Donald trump referred to this virus as wuhan / Chinese virus the harassment of anti asian nature has been reported.
The main reason behind this intense xenophobia is not just the fact that the roots f this virus can be traced back to china but also because of the centuries of disease framing by European nations which are rooted in long standing sentiment of anti asian feeling. However once this new and revised regulation by CDC was announced, the aisan population in America were especially thrilled and happy since it would mean that the wearing of face mask is now normalized.
While some Asians believe that the usage of masks will normalize things for them and put an end to xenophobia whereas on the other hand people also believe that it won’t suddenly end the anti – asian feeling. According to them this anti sentiments towards especially the asian population is a form of adherence to the cultural and social value system.