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Maki Dolan

Document Type

Restricted CORE Hall of Fame Paper

Publication Date



[Excerpt] January 22nd, 2020: the CDC reports the first case of COVID-19 in the United States. While this day does not hold much significance to most compared to any other, this day is the start of the epidemic in the United States. By April 10th the number of reported cases in the US increased to a little over 492,000 people afflicted with this respiratory virus in a span of less than three months. That number is greater than the estimated population of Long Beach, California (9). The United States Government, in an attempt to combat and reduce the bell curve of the virus, recommend citizens to stay home with slogans such as “#alone together” “Stay Home” and other phrases promoting the practice of social distancing along with many state and local governments also implementing restrictions on social gatherings. However, prior to the suggestions for isolation and before the first case of COVID-19 in the United States there was already the prevalence of an ailment that spreads like butter on a hot skillet: fear. People all over the United States began to dread the possibility of encountering and catching the Coronavirus. This anxiety results in the unconventional names for COVID-19 such as the “Chinese Virus” “Kung Flu” and similar derogatory titles aimed towards the country of initial contact, China. Viruses are not the only pandemic the world is suffering from; societies, on a consistent basis, are plagued with irrationalities from misinformation. The consequent paranoia then results in the injustices many groups experience based on these trivial correlations during a time of medical crises. To understand why contagion-based fear results in prejudice, this study will look into the behavior behind anxiety, the behavior of diseases, and the behavior behind injustice through times where illness is an uncommonly major concern.