“Fear might be more harmful than the virus.” — Japanese Red Cross, April 21

There is nothing new about the tendency to look for scapegoats during pandemics. Indeed, at many points in history, anxiety about contagious disease has manifested itself in the form of fear mongering and xenophobia.

Contagious disease functions not only at the biological level, but also at the social level, since fear about contagious diseases can clearly contribute to discriminatory discourse about foreigners. This form of stigmatization can have lasting effects on individuals, on minority communities and on society as a whole.