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Recap- When Fear Goes Viral: Coronavirus and the Human Cost of Stigma

Recap- When Fear Goes Viral: Coronavirus and the Human Cost of Stigma

China Institute hosted a program on the coronavirus, the on-the-ground situation in Hubei province and throughout China, and insights on what happens next feauturing China and global health experts and a doctor from Wuhan (via Skype). The March 4, 2020 panel on “Coronavirus and the Human Cost of Stigma,” provided perspective on the origins, current status, and future of COVID 19 and other like viruses- and what it all means for global markets, international relations, and interpersonal trust. The doctor from Wuhan also shared her inspiring story about her journey back to Wuhan to help her colleagues battle the virus as it took its toll within her community. Below, we present quotes, photos, and the full livestream event video for your perusal.

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Speakers’ Bios

Joan Kaufman is the Director for Academics at Schwarzman Scholars, a newly launched elite international master’s program in global affairs at Tsinghua University in China inspired by the Rhodes Scholars program at Oxford University in the U.K. An expert on both China and global health policy, she was the Director of Columbia University’s Global Center for East Asia (Beijing) from 2012-2016 and Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. She has been a Lecturer in Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School since 2003 and also served as Adjunct Professor of Global Health Policy at Tsinghua University’s Research Center for Public Health.
Andrew Mao (Xuejun Mao) is the President of Wuhan University Alumni Association of Greater New York since October 2019. He and his team started the fund raising and support program for purchasing medical supplies and medical equipment to aid the fight against Covid-19 Coronavirus in Wuhan and Hubei Province in China on January 23, 2020. Professionally, Andrew Mao is Deputy General Manager of China Merchants Bank (“CMB”) New York Branch overseeing Risk Management of the Bank in the US since January 2020.
Muyi Xiao is a producer at The New York Times specializing in Visual Investigations, a new form of accountability and explanatory journalism that combines traditional reporting with advanced digital forensics, such as collecting and parsing information from large volumes of videos, photos and audio, analysis of satellite imagery and 3-D reconstructions of crime scenes. Muyi is also a non-resident fellow at ChinaFile where she previously worked as its Visuals Editor from 2017 to 2020. In 2019, she cofounded Chinese Storytellers, a community of multi-lingual non-fiction content creators that publishes a newsletter every two weeks.
Dr. Wan Yang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology. Her work with colleagues has provided modeling support to outbreak response to seasonal influenza, the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and the recent 2019 measles outbreak in the US. Dr. Yang is also working on modeling the current 2019 novel coronavirus epidemic.

Quotes from the Panel

“The number of cases [in China] have started to drop recently. We have more beds than patients now.” -Wuhan Doctor

“The level of shutdown is higher in Wuhan, and traffic highly controlled. We have volunteers drivers shuttling doctors to and from hospitals.” -Wuhan Doctor

“China did a very good job from a public health perspective; they flagged the outbreak and sequenced the virus rather quickly. Remember, no playbook measures exist for a lockdown of 11 million people.” -Joan Kaufman

“This event has existed at the intersection of press and social media censorship [in China].” -Joan Kaufman

“If you compare China to other coujntries, the [other countries] have more cases. But, [remember], the majority of the population is still susceptible and there is a probability of reintroduction.” -Wan Yang

“There are always things [China] could have done better. Once there is a vaccine, the key is to disseminate it across the world.” -Andrew Mao

“China has a robust medical system- they can mobilize quickly [given their government system]. Not many governments can do that so effectively.” -Joan Kaufman

“This kind of virus outbreak could happen anywhere. The virus is the enemy, not people.” -Andrew Mao

“More than 8,000 individuals from the Wuhan University Alumni Association donated [to our relief efforts]. We raised $1.4M, and most of our donors were not Chinese.” -Andrew Mao

Photos from the Event

When Fear Goes Viral, 3.4.20

Full Video of the Livestreamed Panel Discussion

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Lastly, check out this awesome visual artwork by Sophie Ong of our panel and program.
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