Coronavirus panic will divide people
Fear of COVID-19 and bitterness over the outbreak will lead to hatred and stigmatization.
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There is a long and well-established history of disease outbreaks leading to deeper cultural and social divisions. The fear and anxiety of facing a dangerous contagion can prompt negative feelings that are irrationally directed at others, entrenching personal prejudices and raising the intensity of ongoing disputes. Simply because the coronavirus originated in China, and even before a large number of cases had occurred in the United States, racially motivated attacks on ethnically Chinese and Asian residents of the U.S. increased in frequency following the outbreak. Under normal circumstances, public events such as celebrations and athletic contests can serve as opportunities for diverse people to come together and set aside their differences in common appreciation of their shared interests. Disease outbreaks limit these opportunities by mandating the cancellation of large public gatherings. By February 2020, the coronavirus outbreak had already caused numerous major events to be cancelled, including the 2020 Tokyo Marathon.