“COVID-19: What’s in a Name?”
by CKA Member Jerry Kang
Date Published: March 17, 2020
Please read this article on the importance of words and how they matter when it comes to “social distancing” and the “Wuhan virus”, especially when it comes to avoiding anti-Asian discrimination, written by CKA Member Jerry Kang, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at UCLA.
“From this perspective, you can see why I’m concerned about the use of another name, “Wuhan virus,” which reflects both intellectual laziness and stereotyping. It’s lazy in the sense that there are more precise names for the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and the disease that it causes, COVID-19. We’re smart enough to learn the proper nomenclature.
It’s also stereotyping because the term strengthens the mental association between a specific disease and Chinese people, and thus indirectly all East Asians, Asians, Asian Americans, immigrants, foreigners, and others. In this sense, using “Wuhan virus,” unwittingly or not, is a form of “name calling” that increases the chances that people of Asian descent will be teased, bullied, harassed, or just made to feel like they don’t belong. It’s so unnecessary in a moment when we need unity not division, care not contempt, solicitude not sarcasm.”
The New York State Dental Association is following all developments as they arise in regards to COVID-19.
This is a rapidly evolving situation and information is changing frequently. The Health Alert Network (HAN) for CDC Interim Guidance on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is available for updated information. This is the most recent CDC guidance, but may be superseded as more is learned. Visit CDC’s page on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus for the most up-to-date information. There is also a specific page for Healthcare Professionals. You may also access information from the New York State Department of Health or call their novel coronavirus hotline for advice at: 1-888-364-3065.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) may cause a respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. There is currently no vaccination to protect against COVID-19 or drugs to specifically treat the virus. The emergence of a new infectious disease reemphasizes the importance of vigilance relative to all aspects of infection control for Dental Healthcare Workers. Dental specific infection control information may be referenced at the CDC website.
As a general reminder, the experts have said the best prevention against respiratory illness is the following:
- Wash hands with soap and water frequently for or at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve, then throw the tissue in the trash.