Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Asian American doctors and nurses are fighting racism and the coronavirus

Across the country, Asian Americans have reported a sharp increase in verbal abuse and physical attacks.

Three Asian-American medical providers on the front lines of the pandemic spoke with The Post about the racial discrimination they faced as the virus spread on. (Allie Caren/The Washington Post)

By Tracy Jan

Lucy Li tries not to let fear dictate her interactions with patients as she makes the rounds in the covid-19 intensive care unit. But the anesthesiology resident at Massachusetts General Hospital cannot erase the memory of what happened after work at the start of the pandemic.

A man followed the Chinese American doctor from the Boston hospital, spewing a profanity-laced racist tirade as she walked to the subway. “Why are you Chinese people killing everyone?” Li recalled the man shouting. “What is wrong with you? Why the f--- are you killing us?”

Stunned at first, then relieved she was not physically attacked, Li is now saddened and angered by the irony that she spends her days and nights helping save lives. Her work inserting tubes in patients’ airways has grown riskier since the coronavirus emerged — each procedure releasing droplets and secretions that could carry viral particles.

“I’m risking my own personal health, and then to be vilified just because of what I look like,” said Li, 28, wary that one of her patients, too, could harbor such prejudices. “I try not to think about that possibility when I’m at work taking care of patients. But it’s always there, at the very back of my mind.”  Read more >>