Free «COVID-19 and Prejudice against Asians and Orientals» Essay Sample

Abstract

This paper outlines shows how the novel COVID-19 epidemic has come with major changes in professional and social life. In the professional sphere, the role of pharmacists has changed with this new virus. These professionals have been first responders and taken the active role as care providers to those with mild conditions and make referrals for sever conditions as well as screening individuals to identify the at-risk patients. In the social realm, the disease has reignited the debate about Asians and orientals prejudice to SARS as it earlier happened with the 2003 SARS pandemic. The paper shows that due to the gravity of the impacts, COVID-19 has put Asians and orientals at a worse position as they are most likely to face discrimination and stereotypes, especially the oriental threat of being labeled COVID-19 carriers.

Question One: The Impact of Coronavirus on the Pharmacists

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Pharmaceutical companies are at the forefront when it comes to combating this global pandemic because they have been tasked with producing a cure or vaccine for coronavirus. Therefore, coronavirus has prompted several changes in the pharmacy industry. It shows why pharmacists need to integrate into the medical industry in a bid to fight such health problems. Indeed, training is needed to assist pharmacists in adapting to the prompted changes. This paper aims to explain how the pharmacy industry can better position itself to effectively follow through the hard-wired dynamics set by the pandemic and set a better example for such future cases.

The race for treatment or vaccine approval for the novel coronavirus has created the situation whereby pharmacists need to step up, and the system of the big pharma industry needs to train staff to take a stronger role as healthcare professionals. For example, instead of just reading off the directions to using certain medications, pharmacists need to understand drug contraindications and work on learning to analyze and understand their patients more closely. COVID-19 has made professionals in the medical and healthcare sector understand the importance of primary care in disease outbreaks. Primary care sits at the forefront of COVID-19 because they are the first responders when people mild symptoms of the viral infections.

Pharmacists offer primary care services and this has rendered them crucial partners in the response to COVID-19. They have come to help when medical services have been under serious pressure. For example, “Square Cabin Hospitals” as mobile hospitals were built in Wuhan China to response to mild virus symptom (Liu et al., 2020). This entailed pharmacists actively engaging in the country’s health operation, whether at community pharmacies, hospitals or at home. Through such engagement, pharmacists emerged with some profound and valuable experiences and as such, show how they are essential in providing crucial support to public health operation (Adunlin, Murphy & Manis, 2020). Therefore, with the mainstream medical services overwhelmed, pharmacists have been stepping up and integrated into the healthcare system to supplement the constrained medical services.

Instead of passive involvement in medical and healthcare, pharmacists can offer the public with the better strategies and incentives for symptoms management, more so those with minor viral illnesses. Hence, their role is turning into clinicians who provide knowledge on how patients can manage nasal congestion, cough, pain, rhinorrhea, throat pain or fever (Liu et al., 2020). Non-severe COVID-19 condition requires symptomatic therapy (Adunlin et al., 2020). However, pharmacists must change their passive role and adapt a patient-centered management of the pandemic by acting as experts providing and recommending the most effective and safest ways of managing the clinical conditions. Furthermore, pharmacists also have to act as physicians who refer patients to healthcare providers, especially when COVID-19 symptoms are severe and a client needs advanced care. In some cases, especially within a community setting, pharmacists have been helping to screen patients and stratify them based on risks and vulnerabilities. It is understandable that age is one of the risk factors of COVID-19 (Song, Hu, Zheng, Yang & Zhao, 2020). Therefore, pharmacists can take up a role as assessors and screeners of the patient population to identify the at-risk individuals and those who will require emergency or intensive care.

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Medical and healthcare professionals play a central role in providing the necessary resources for disease management. For instance, COVID-19 has come with a lot of news and ideas from the media, especially social media (Song et al., 2020). As such, most of this information is misguided and could be dangerous when not verified and confirmed. Yet, it should be the role of the pharmacists to inform, guide and direct their patients to reliable sources. They should recommend the best and reliable sources like CDC and WHO (Adunlin et al., 2020). This means that frontline pharmacists have been taking up the leading role of presenting CDC’s guidelines and information on symptoms while at the same time providing insight into which patients will have epidemiological risk factors to be considered as COVID-19. It equally calls for active engagement or involvement by the pharmacist community to be up-to-date and informed about the latest developments on the disease and possible treatments.

Training is also needed because of the special and unique requirements of pharmacy services and their role in the COVID-19. For instance, pharmacists must be trained on the professional service guidelines for pharmacies and pharmacists, treatment guidelines on how to evaluate and address drug reactions and contraindications (Song, Hu, Zheng, Yang & Zhao, 2020). Training also emerges from the inherent need for these professionals to deliver evidence-based pharmaceutical care and actively engaging in patient care by diagnosing symptoms (through differential diagnosis) to eliminate the symptoms of COVID-19. This equally implies the need for training on the principles of patient care like having a patient-centered approach to care giving including the consideration cultural and individual values and norms (Adunlin et al., 2020). For example, when the vaccines shall have been introduced, pharmacists will have to administer them based on the principles of community and public health, including the ethical issues with immunization and vaccines. This must require training on cultural issues in healthcare and how to balance the patient needs and the professional obligation for the patient’s welfare.

Question two: Stereotypes towards Orientals and Asians

 
 
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The COVID-19 outbreak has raised issues around Sinophobia and other major forms of prejudice against East Asians and orientals worldwide. This is evident by online and offline reports of abuse directed against the community in the first few months since the virus became a scourge (Vidgen et al., 2020). Worse still, some have suffered physical attacks. Furthermore, Vidgen et al (2020) noted that “the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has pointed at the overbearing prejudice against East Asians and made a call to UN member states to address this discrimination” (p.1). The problem also emerges out of research on COVID-19 merely focusing on economic and health consequences but limitedly outlined some of the emerging issues like Asian and oriental prejudice. As such, the Asians and oriental community will face what Claude Steel referred to as “stereotype threat denoting the danger that a group faces from being viewed from the lens of a negative stereotype or even the fear of doing something that will inadvertently confirm the stereotype” (Steele 2003, p.253). For this purpose, the situation is most likely to trigger “oriental threat” as the risk that Asian and oriental communities face from being perceived negatively as carriers of COVID-19. The resultant effect will be limited public participation, alienation and social exclusion, and tensed relationships with the world communities.

The prejudice against orientals and Asian communities is not a new phenomenon with the rise of COVID-19, a virus that ranks among Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) diseases (Rzymski & Nowicki, 2020). The first bout of the pandemic occurred between 2002 and 2004 as the SARS spread from China to other countries worldwide with around 8,000 people infected and 816 reported deaths (Lee, 2013). How the first wave of the pandemic was covered by the media in the 2002-2004 periods predicts the likelihood of prejudice and stereotypes against Asian communities and orientals with COVID-19. The media played a major part in fueling racial alienation, discrimination, and stigmas targeting Asian groups. This resulted in animosity that forced them into hardships and threatened their quality of life. The discrimination and prejudice surprisingly became apparent when only around 8,000 people had been affected worldwide and at least 800 deaths (Rzymski & Nowicki, 2020). Yet again, the world is witnessing another serious scenario where hundreds of thousands have died and millions affected. The number of deaths and infections has put the Asian communities and orientals at the target of prejudice and discrimination because this time around, this society is going to be perceived as a danger to public health in any country (Vidgen et al., 2020). The end of the COVID-19 pandemic will be defined by an increased prejudice, profiling, and discrimination of the Asians and orientals as a source of the pandemic and a danger to the public.

Few studies have already highlighted the discrimination and prejudice targeted at Asians and orientals due to COVID-19. For example, Rzymski and Nowicki (2020) investigated this issue through an anonymous internet survey targeting medical students of Asian origin in Poland to evaluate whether they have been experiencing any type of discrimination and bigotry associated with the current virus. The findings of the study, from a sample of 85 respondents (n=85) reported that the outbreak of COVID-19 had generated discriminatory and racist responses towards Asian-origin students even before a single case was identified and confirmed in the country. The findings show the possible effects of COVID-19 on the community, especially having the feelings of isolation, affecting normal life as highlighted by Vidgen et al. (2020). This specifically shows how targeted prejudice will affect orientals and Asian students studying in a foreign country, thus, detrimental to their career growth and development (Rzymski & Nowicki, 2020). The situation comes out of profiling orientals or Asians as the potential virus carriers. For instance, Haokip (2020) has reported a case of racial discrimination against Northeast Indians who are majorly mongoloid race. The community has been fighting against discrimination in the country as well as seeking equal recognition as equal Indians. The situation is further worsened by the absence of active anti-racism and discrimination laws in most countries. It implies that the post-COVID-19 era will be a challenge for Asians and orientals as they will face discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes when the current and previous trends are taken into consideration.

In summary, the COVID-19 pandemic is occurring without the world leaders and the public considering the implications it will have in some communities. Already, Asians and orientals have been labeled as the origin of the disease. Some have been abused psychologically and even faced physical abuse or attacks. Therefore, the post-COVID-19 will be the worse period for Asian communities and orientals because of targeted prejudice and oriental threat whereby they are to be viewed negatively as associated with the disease. This is set to disrupt their normal lives, especially for students studying abroad and business travels. Asians and orientals are spread around the globe and an attack on their community and origin by being labeled as "COVID-19" is a threat to their existence. The world is at a critical condition whereby every effort is being sought and considered to fight the pandemic. However, this is going on without addressing the emerging oriental threat and prejudice against Asians and orientals. If the outcomes of SARS 2003 are to go by, then discrimination against this community will be far much worse than before considering the gravity of the COVID-19 impact.

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