This hand sanitizer aims to stop a bigger threat than coronavirus

Stigma against people of Asian descent is a problem worse than the disease, says the WHO

Published On
Mar 04, 2020

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The global spread of the coronavirus may not qualify as a pandemic just yet, but the World Health Organization says there’s an even bigger threat right now: the racism and xenophobia that always accompanies these kinds of illnesses.

Because this particular virus originated in China, people of Asian descent have been physically attacked in places like New York and London, despite the fact that Asians are no more susceptible to the virus than anyone else. Chinatowns across the country are also experiencing a decline in visitors. Similar spikes in attack occurred after the SARS epidemic, and stigma against Africans rose during the Ebola outbreak several years ago.

To raise awareness of the problem, the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice and creative agency The Hive created an eye-catching stunt on the streets of Toronto. Two workers dressed in hazmat suits gave bottles of hand sanitizer to passers-by. Instead of typical warning labels, the bottles proclaimed “Stop the Spread.” Closer inspection reveals the bottle is referring to racism, not coronavirus.

The listed uses include protection against “toxic behavior,” and directions warn that it “works best with common sense.” The label also drives users to the campaign’s website, which includes statistics and information about anti-racism efforts.


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