From the moment the first cases of this novel coronavirus were reported out of China in 2019, there were elements of racism attached to it.
Undaunted by that, UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, delivered the science with the added bonus of cultural understanding.
“Once I was more credible in terms of the science, I was able to infuse some other themes,” he said. “Themes of equity, understanding, tolerance to other communities.”
And thile Asian American Pacific Islander community got hate, they continued doing the things that protected not only the AAPI community, but their greater Bay Area communities as well.
A total of 75% of Californians are vaccinated, but more than 93% of the Asian population got their shots -- and they can claim the highest vaccination rate among all age groups.
“That notion that we should all protect not only ourselves but our communities is something that’s really strong in Asian American communities and vaccinations having community benefit as well as individual benefit resonated with the asian American community,” said Chin-Hong.
The doctor also said that Asian Americans didn’t have the aversion to masking that some other groups had.
While Asian American Pacific Islanders make up about 15% of California’s population, their case rate was lower, accounting for fewer than 9% of all COVID cases, and fewer than 11% of all COVID deaths.
But, Chin-Hong said the model minority notion leaves some communities out, like Filipinos and elderly Chinese people, who were hit harder by COVID.
That’s why he is still pushing for a focus on sub-populations and equity. Work he considers a privilege.
“I can’t think of any better way to use what I’ve learned throughout my life,” said Chin-Hong. “It almost seemed like everything I’ve done in my life reached a peak to really be able to utilize that during the COVID pandemic.”