Prevent viral illnesses and racial stereotypes
According to Manitoba Health, the risk of the novel Coronavirus affecting Manitoba is low, with just four confirmed cases in Canada so far. Coronavirus symptoms, such as a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, headache, and breathing difficulties, are similar to the common cold are easily treatable in most cases.
As a precaution, public health officials advise individuals to take common prevention measures. They recommend regular hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleanser, covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with your sleeve; and avoiding contact with anyone showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, such as coughing or sneezing.
News of the spread of Coronavirus has also led to increased negative racial stereotyping of Chinese and East-Asian people. Instances of this include avoiding visibly Asian individuals in public, shaming cultural foods, making assumptions on hygiene practices, and insensitive social media posts.
Several other foreign-borne illnesses like the SARS outbreak have been racialized in the past. Stereotypes like these are xenophobic, inaccurate and hurtful.
The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) encourages students to support Asian students on campus by debunking myths stemming from racism. Education and following public health recommendations are critical to preventing the spread of the virus and the discrimination associated with it.
For links to more information, visit the website at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/diseases/coronavirus.html.
For health questions or more information on respiratory illness, Manitobans can phone Health Links–Info Santé at 788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free).