Customers boycott a pharmacy. People scream at a family on the street. A man has trouble summoning an ambulance to his home.
There’s a common thread linking all these stories: fear of COVID-19. In the face of a virus that is both deadly and highly contagious, it raises a question: When do social safeguards against the novel coronavirus mutate into their own contagion of fear and loathing?
The pandemic’s origins in China have already given rise to a frightening spate of racist outbursts against Asian immigrants and Asian Americans. Beyond that, fear has led to a shunning of some of its victims, even when they needed help.
“How we respond to the pandemic is a measure of who we are, a measure of our goodness,” said Dr. Richard Marlink, director of the Rutgers Global Health Institute and a veteran of HIV/AIDS research and public policy. “The pressure we should put on ourselves is, this is an opportunity to be human.”
Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.