Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said Asian Americans are “stepping up” to combat the spread of COVID-19 amid a reported rise in racist attacks against the community.
The entrepreneur said many Asian Americans were showing that they could be “part of the solution” to the novel coronavirus pandemic, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published on Wednesday.
He also told readers that the community was “not the virus” and could be “part of the cure” while urging Asian Americans to “show our American-ness in ways we never have before.”
Yang made his remarks after several news outlets reported increases in racist attacks against Asian Americans by people ignorantly blaming them for the coronavirus outbreak.
FBI analysis obtained by ABC News last week also showed that the agency expected hate crimes against Asian Americans to “surge across the United States” and endanger the community.
A new website tracking incidents of coronavirus-related discrimination against Asian Americans, Stop AAPI Hate, also said it received 673 reports of such discrimination in just one week.
Writing for the Post, Yang recalled feeling “self-conscious” of being an Asian American when he shopped for groceries last week, adding that it had been “years since I felt that way.”
But he wrote that the situation had “changed” and argued that people were “looking for someone to blame” as the novel coronavirus impacts their health and livelihoods.
Addressing the question of how racism against Asian Americans could be combatted, he wrote: “I’m an entrepreneur. In general, negative responses don’t work. I obviously think that being racist is not a good thing. But saying ‘Don’t be racist toward Asians’ won’t work.”
“Now many in the Asian American community are stepping up, trying to demonstrate that we can be part of the solution,” Yang said. “Some 17 percent of U.S. doctors are Asian and rushing to the front lines.
“We Asian Americans need to embrace and show our American-ness in ways we never have before. We need to step up, help our neighbors, donate gear, vote, wear red white and blue, volunteer, fund aid organizations, and do everything in our power to accelerate the end of this crisis.”
After calling on fellow Asian Americans to “show without a shadow of a doubt” that they were also American, Yang wrote: “Demonstrate that we are part of the solution. We are not the virus, but we can be part of the cure.”
Newsweek has contacted Andrew Yang for further comment and will update this article with any response.
Yang wrote of the racism facing Asian Americans amid the COVID-19 pandemic weeks after President Donald Trump was accused of being racist by referring to the disease as the “Chinese virus.”
Trump later defended his remark at a press conference, saying: “It’s not racist at all. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.”
World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
- Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
- Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
- If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
- Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.
Mask and glove usage
- Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
- Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
- Do not reuse single-use masks.
- Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
- The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.