The Effects of Blame and Politicization on Responses to Pandemics

Jason Ding, Claude Kananack
2021 Journal of student research  
COVID-19 has caused widespread discrimination and blame; however, analyzing history, it becomes apparent that racially motivated blame is common during pandemics. Placed for religious, ethnic, or socioeconomic reasons, blame has caused discrimination and stigma for the "other". Blaming a specific race without scientific evidence causes discrimination and hate crimes, creating more problems that require attention and resources to resolve and diverting them from the pandemic response. A quick and
more » ... direct response is vital for minimizing the impacts of pandemics, while blame only distracts and leads to politicizing the disease. This paper finds that unfounded blame throughout history results in delays in the health response, inefficient resource allocation, and the undermining of cooperation. This blame is part of politicizing pandemics, which exacerbates the impacts of the disease by diverting attention away from the health response and disease's containment. Racist accusations during pandemics against Asians in America since the turn of the 20th century also led to hate crimes and increased discrimination, resulting in discriminatory public perception reflected even through government actions. COVID-19 is reflecting these historical trends. The latest disease to be politicized, the coronavirus has widened the scope of scapegoating beyond blaming Asians. Its politicization is creating further divisions in society and leading to tension on both a global scale with the WHO and domestically with the CDC and state legislatures. Consistent with former diseases, unfounded blame during the coronavirus is a practice that ultimately causes more deaths and needs to end immediately.
doi:10.47611/jsrhs.v10i1.1320 fatcat:7c6nudfkondr7kwi3cbhp4o4dy