UC Berkeley has received harsh backlash after a social media post by its health center listed xenophobia, the fear of interacting with foreigners, under normal reactions to the coronavirus.
Be Well Cal posted a graphic on Instagram listing "Common Reactions," to the outbreak and included xenophobia, which critics said was perpetuating misdirected fears and normalizing racism, NBC News reported.
The post was removed from the account, and Be Well Cal has since publicly apologized.
"We apologize for our recent post on managing anxiety around Coronavirus," the health center said in a tweet. "We regret any misunderstanding it may have caused and have updated the language in our materials."
“It was a very unfortunate mistake,” said Yan Long, sociology department professor.
Long specializes in global health issues. Her parents live in the Chinese province next to Wuhan, where the outbreak originated, and they are currently under lockdown.
“It’s a just very emotional time for me, and a lot of people who have their families and friends in China,” she said.
The coronavirus, which started in Wuhan, China, has spread to nearly 10,000 confirmed cases, with a death toll of 213, officials say. The outbreak prompted the U.S. to advise against traveling to China and caused multiple major airlines to suspend flights to the country.