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Group condemns racism, violence stemming from coronavirus fears: ‘It’s not making sense’

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Coronavirus (Getty Images)WISCONSIN -- The number of people being tested for coronavirus rose by five on Friday, March 6 according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).

To date, 44 people in Wisconsin have been tested for the virus. Only one of those tests resulted in a positive case -- a Dane County resident who is now considered virus-free. Meantime, 31 tests have come back negative, and a total of 12 cases are still pending. From March 5 to March 6, the number of reported tests rose by five.

Increase in racism, violence because of coronavirus fears

As the global number of coronavirus cases has climbed, sadly so have instances of xenophobia and racism toward individuals of Asian descent. Officials with the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) say they are sad to report they have indeed seen an uptick in racism and violence as a result of coronavirus fears. They are condemning the behavior -- and urging others to do the same.

Since cases of coronavirus began popping up in the U.S., state and federal health officials have been urging people to remember this important message: "It's extremely important to avoid placing stigma on members of our community based on race or ethnic background," said Jeanne Ayers from the Wisconsin DHS.

Gopinath Dhakshinamurthy

"It's very sad," said Gopinath Dhakshinamurthy, NAAAP Milwaukee President.

Officials with NAAAP say they are "deeply disturbed" by recent stories of students being bullied, attacks on citizens, and campaigns spreading false information about Asian American businesses.

The organization, in a statement released this week, also wrote, in part: 

"Sadly, the reports this week of violence against the Asian and Asian American communities illustrate that these malevolent narratives are not simply a thing of the past, but an ugly reality of the present-day. NAAAP condemns these acts of violence as well as the calls to boycott Asian cultural events and epicenters across the country."

"No reasons to avoid Asian markets or Asian stores or Asian restaurants," Dhakshinamurthy said.

Dhakshinamurthy said this could also end up negatively impacting our economy.

"That's going to hurt the businesses," Dhakshinamurthy said.

Gopinath Dhakshinamurthy

Dhakshinamurthy condemns the behavior -- and urges others to follow his lead.

"I hear people bullying students or Asians. It's not making sense," Dhakshinamurthy said.

Dhakshinamurthy said instead of spreading fear, our energy should be focused on tackling the outbreak.

"We need to follow the recommendation of the CDC and wash your hands regularly," Dhakshinamurthy said.

Dhakshinamurthy also wants to remind people that when you see images of people wearing masks, it does not necessarily mean they are sick. In addition to trying to avoid getting sick, they could also be wearing masks for unrelated reasons -- like to protect themselves from air pollution.

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