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In the Face of Racism and Misinformation, City Council Confronts Coronavirus Pandemic

Councilor Ed Flynn (District 2) brought forth a resolution at this week’s city council meeting for Boston to support its Chinese and Asian communities during the COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, outbreak.

As the coronavirus continues to impact cities across the United States, the economic impact has effected Boston’s Chinatown the hardest. Councilor Flynn encouraged city officials to assist in showing support for the community during a time when ignorance and misinformation has created negative public reactions.

He noted that many Asian residents have recently experienced an elevation in racism and discrimination with incidents of verbal harassment and avoidance by other people in public spaces. Despite Massachusetts only having one confirmed case of coronavirus, the lack of public understanding of the virus continues to lend its hand to racism. Flynn urged the importance of officials’ continuance of support for Boston’s Chinese and Asian communities during this time.

Councilors Michelle Wu (At-Large) and Matt O’Malley (District 6) opened up the discussion about Boston’s preparedness for the coronavirus pandemic.

As the global count of coronavirus cases surpass 90,000 with 3,200 fatalities, Councilors Wu and O’Malley called for a hearing to examine Boston’s plan for addressing the situation. Although the U.S. has only seen 125 cases with 9 deaths, the novel COVID-19 virus remains an “international concern” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Officials spoke about striking a balance between recognizing the enormity of the pandemic while also avoiding any unnecessary panic. In order to accomplish this, the city council identified accessible information as a priority during a time of heightened public health concern.

Councilor O’Malley stressed that accurate information about the status of the outbreak be disseminated through all points of access outside of the media, television, and social media.

“Part of this outreach is also language access,” added Councilor Flynn.

With approximately 700 people self-quarantined in the Commonwealth, officials expressed the importance that Boston’s infrastructures are prepared to evaluate those who are presenting potential symptoms for the coronavirus.

Medical professionals, public health officials, and other stakeholders should join in the conversation to assist in better informing residents and determining necessary precautions as the situation continues to evolve, such as reconsidering large-scale events scheduled to happen in Boston (i.e. the Boston Marathon).

Following New York Governor Cuomo’s initiative making coronavirus testing free for Medicaid recipients, Councilor O’Malley maintained that Massachusetts should be doing the same.

“This is going to be something we have to face as a society and as a world for the foreseeable future,” stated Councilor Wu. “This won’t be the last pandemic, especially in the age of climate change.”

The risk for contracting coronavirus remains relatively low, but it’s important for the City of Boston to take proactive measures as the pandemic continues to unfold. It is also important for residents to understand the precautions needed to protect themselves, while also avoiding the pitfalls of discrimination against Boston’s effected residents and communities.

8 Replies to “In the Face of Racism and Misinformation, City Council Confronts Coronavirus Pandemic

  1. Everyone returning to the US should have been tested that was a huge mistake. We’re being fed BS ( as usual) by the Government.Mike Pence is in charge that’s reassuring😁.This is a guy who as Governor of Indiana claimed there was no connection between smoking & cancer. They tell us not to panic & go on with your life while this morning I see some clown in Congress wearing a gas mask in the chamber. The stable genius tells us not touch our face . Remember his solution to the wild fires in California? ” We need more rakes”

      1. I am not here to encourage or entertain or educate you about the ways of the world . That is my OPINION. You my dear have a problem.

    1. Actually when they started stopping travel from China, the same people who protested the loudest are now saying more should have been done. Our public is different than a Communist country. They set strict rules about who could leave the home and how often. Realistically, would never work here. So we are left with that this virus spreads like others. Same protections that you use to avoid flu, go for this flu. After all, they didn’t have 3.5 billion cases in China.

      Also, their was a good article in he Globe the other day regarding the demographics of COVID-19. Worth a look before you throw down the gates to full panic.

      1. I won’t mention what I think should be done with China because I would get censored. The local news ran a story on students returning to the US from Italy .A country that’s been hit hard with the virus.Every student interviewed said that they expected to tested when they landed at Logan but no one was tested.They went about their business and into the community.It takes 10 seconds to check someone’s temp.

  2. It’s so bad that even Corona beer sales are down. I’d like to know what they are going to do about that?

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