Asians saw a surge in online hatred and racial attacks after former President Donald Trump used the term “Chinese virus” to describe Covid-19 in March last year. This is what a new study found.
The UC San Francisco study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that days after the former president tweeted the racist rhetoric on March 16, 2020, the number of coronavirus-related tweets with anti-Asian hashtags skyrocketed.
The study looked at nearly 700,000 tweets with nearly 1.3 million hashtags in the week before and after Mr Trump’s tweet.
The number of daily users who used # covid19 was found to increase 379 percent, while those who used #chinesevirus to describe the pandemic increased by a staggering 8,351 percent.
The results are the result of the Atlanta rampage that killed six women of Asian origin.
“These results could be an indicator of growth in anti-Asian sentiment that was not as prevalent as it was before,” said Yulin Hswen, assistant professor of epidemiology at UC in San Francisco and lead author of the study.
“The use of racial terms associated with a disease can result in continued stigmatization of racial groups.”
The researchers also found that 50 percent of users who used the hashtag #chinesevirus combined it with openly racist hashtags, compared to 20 percent of those who used # covid19 to draw attention to the disease.
Recently, the White House also beat up Mr Trump, saying there is no question that the racist rhetoric used by him and his allies has led to an increase in discrimination against Asian Americans.
“I think there is no question that some of the harmful rhetoric we saw during the previous administration – dubbed Covid the ‘Wuhan virus’ or other things – led to inaccurate, unfair perceptions from the Asian-American community .. “The threats against Asian Americans have increased, and we’re seeing it across the country,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.
Although Mr Trump had previously condemned xenophobic attacks against Asian Americans, he continued to use the term incendiary and said the phrase was “not racist at all”.
“It comes from China. Therefore, ”he said, trying to explain why he kept using the term. “I want to be specific.”
However, Ms. Hswen said the results of the research show the importance of using neutral language while citing diseases and other public health threats. She continued to express her despair after the former president rebranded the coronavirus vaccine as the “China virus” vaccine.
“We shouldn’t use the Chinese virus, the Chinese virus, the Wuhan virus or any derivative of these terms,” she said. “We shouldn’t associate disease with location or ethnicity.”