During his campaign rallies and back when he still had access to Twitter, then-President Donald Trump often referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” or “China virus” — reports have even linked his October COVID-19 diagnosis to an uptick in anti-Asian racism on Twitter.
But Trump’s attempt to blame China for the spread of the coronavirus isn’t new. Several historians and psychologists I talked to said that when diseases like COVID-19 become associated with a specific country or group of people, a scapegoat often emerges. That’s especially true if those in power find they can target a marginalized group in a way that reaffirms beliefs already held about these communities.
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