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COVID-19 related racism directed at Chinese community could have lasting effect: psychologist

Last Updated Apr 3, 2020 at 5:39 pm PST

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, orange, emerging from the surface of cells, gray, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS/NIAID-RML via AP

A psychologist is worried about an increase in racism towards the Chinese community

Dr. Gina Ko says her students are worried after seeing news reports of Chinese people being targetted amid the pandemic

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It’s not the Wuhan virus or the China virus, and those terms are causing distress within the Chinese community, says a Chinese-Canadian psychologist.

Dr. Gina Ko teaches at two Alberta Universities and says she is worried about what she’s hearing from her students.

She says they are fearful after seeing more news reports of anti-Chinese violence related to COVID-19 fears.

“The fact that my students are worried and scared going into practicum and practise, you know, I’m scared for them,” Ko says.

She explains the racism people in the Chinese community face, may affect the way some people view their heritage.

“Even today after 9-11, people who identify as Muslims they still get attacked, they still get treated violently. Xenophobia and racist comments are used against them,” she says.

And Ko says hearing world leaders like President Trump call COVID-19 the China virus is just one example of how racism is spreading.

“I am worried about the youth, too, growing up. Right now kindness is so important. Kindness and compassion, and caring for our neighbours, reaching out to people,” she says.

Ko says she predicts more people will reach out for counselling in the coming weeks because of heightened tension couple with feelings of loneliness in isolation.