AOC says avoiding Chinese restaurants amid coronavirus is ‘straight-up racism’

Congresswoman believes racism is the reason behind the decline in patronage of Asian establishments

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 07: U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a news conference at the East Front of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to paralyze the world, Chinese restaurants are hurting as folks avoid patronizing Asian eateries.

Many business owners blame rumors and misinformation about the novel coronavirus for the significant drop in customers. But as noted by Fox News, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., believes racism is the root reason why people are avoiding Chinese establishments.

READ MORE: Trump suspends travel between US and Europe amid coronavirus pandemic

“Honestly, it sounds almost so silly to say, but there’s a lot of restaurants that are feeling the pain of racism, where people are literally not patronizing Chinese restaurants, they’re not patronizing Asian restaurants because of just straight-up racism around the coronavirus,” she said during an Instagram Live session on Tuesday.

Many on social media slammed the freshman congresswoman of reaching and overreacting.

“Honestly though, Alexandria. Can we at least try to reserve the term racism for things that are actually evil and racist?” congressional candidate Luke Edison Negron tweeted.

The Massachusetts Restaurant Association noted in a statement that patrons are making “inaccurate correlations” between eating at Chinese restaurants and the spread of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization declared Wednesday that the global coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic.

TheGrio previously reported, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who heads the U.N. agency, said the WHO is “deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity” of the outbreak. He also expressed concern about “the alarming levels of inaction.”

“We have, therefore, made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” he said at a briefing in Geneva.

“All countries can still change the course of this pandemic. If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response,” Tedros said.

China reportedly has over 80,000 coronavirus-related cases and over 3000 deaths (3,158). Multiple outlets are reporting on the decline in business at Chinese restaurants around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China.

READ MORE: First African to be diagnosed with Coronavirus also becomes the first to recover

In Europe, deaths soared among Italy’s aging population. Authorities said Italy has suffered 631 deaths, with an increase of 168 fatalities recorded Tuesday. In Spain, the number of cases surged past the 2,000-mark on Wednesday. Belgium, Bulgaria, Sweden, and Albania announced their first virus-related deaths.

“If you want to be blunt, Europe is the new China,” said Robert Redfield, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.