WI health officials: There is no ethnicity bias to the coronavirus

French lab scientists in hazmat gear inserting liquid in test tube manipulate potentially...
French lab scientists in hazmat gear inserting liquid in test tube manipulate potentially infected patient samples at Pasteur Institute in Paris, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. Scientists at the Pasteur Institute developed and shared a quick test for the new virus that is spreading worldwide, and are using genetic information about the coronavirus to develop a potential vaccine and treatments. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)(NBC15)
Published: Feb. 6, 2020 at 4:52 PM CST
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Wisconsin health officials used part of a Thursday conference call on the state's response to the coronavirus to emphasize that there is no ethnicity bias to the disease.

Respiratory Disease Epidemiologist Tom Haupt said he had taken calls already that had "a stigmatism to them," adding that it isn't the first time he's run into this situation.

"I have seen this happen before with the SARS outbreak back in 2003 and unfortunately there has been calls that have come in too," Haupt explained. He said the callers would wrongly blame the Chinese for the coronavirus, but pointed out that ethnicity doesn't matter.

"The thing that is most associated with the novel coronavirus and in people’s mind is the connection to China," State Health Officer Jeanne Ayers added. She acknowledged the number one thing associated with the virus is its connection to China and that can lead to the misconception, but pointed out that contact with an infected person or travel to an infected area are the risk factors.

"It’s not from a person that has come from or their ethnicity but it is travel and science," Haupt stated.