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When Fear Goes Viral: Coronavirus and the Human Cost of Stigma




China Institute


China Institute, NYC

After leaving Shanghai amidst the Corona Virus outbreak, it was enlighting to join this panel of China and epidemiology specialists. An evening of sharing about fear, spreading, health and society, at the China Institute of the Americas.

Live illustration :

(click to enlarge)


In the weeks since the first cases of coronavirus were reported in Wuhan, the situation has exploded into a global public health crisis that has claimed over 2600 lives. As the number of infected individuals continues to grow, the world’s gaze has turned to China – and to the Chinese people.


Nearly two decades after the outbreak of SARS in 2003, what lessons have been learned? Did early communication lapses exacerbate the health crisis, or has China’s unique system allowed the government to take unprecedented control?


How should international governments react now that the virus is spreading elsewhere? And where is the public sympathy for Wuhan – global citizens who stood with Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, with Paris after the 2015 shooting, and with Australia during the 2019 wildfires, but who have been all but absent in today’s growing crisis.


Join China Institute on March 4, when we convene China and global health experts — and a doctor from Wuhan via Skype — to explore what to do when a virus not only threatens our health, but also our humanity.


Live illustration by Sophie Ong / zovi

Event powered by China Institute


Joan Kaufman is the Director for Academics at Schwarzman Scholars, a newly launched elite international master’s program in global affairs at Tsinghua University in China inspired by the Rhodes Scholars program at Oxford University in the U.K.   An expert on both China and global health policy, she was the Director of Columbia University’s Global Center for East Asia (Beijing) from 2012-2016 and Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.   From 2003-2012 she was based at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management as a Distinguished Scientist and Senior Lecturer and as the Associate Director of the Master Program in Health Policy and Management.  She has been a Lecturer in Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School since 2003 and also served as Adjunct Professor of Global Health Policy at Tsinghua University’s Research Center for Public Health.  She was a Radcliffe fellow in residence at Harvard from 2001-2002 and named as a Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellow in 2005. She taught and was based at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government from 2002-2010 where she founded and directed the AIDS Public Policy Project and was a faculty affiliate of Harvard’s Hauser Center for Non-Profit Organizations.  She has lived and worked in China for 15 years since 1980 for the United Nations, the Ford Foundation, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, and Columbia University.   She received a Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health, and holds an MA and MS (UC Berkeley) and BA (Trinity College) cum laude in Chinese Studies. She has consulted for many organizations and publishes frequently on global health policy, HIV/AIDS, women’s rights, reproductive health, population, emerging infectious diseases, and civil society with a focus on China.

Andrew Mao (Xuejun Mao) is the President of Wuhan University Alumni Association of Greater New York since October 2019. He and his team started the fund raising and support program for purchasing medical supplies and medical equipment to aid the fight against Covid-19 Coronavirus in Wuhan and Hubei Province in China on January 23, 2020. Professionally, Andrew Mao is Deputy General Manager of China Merchants Bank (“CMB”) New York Branch overseeing Risk Management of the Bank in the US since January 2020. Previously he was the Deputy General Manager overseeing corporate and investment banking, transaction banking, leverage finance, supply chain finance, and online and banking. Mr. Mao received BA and MA degrees in Economics from Wuhan University, China. He received Executive MBA degree from Columbia University, New York. He also received executive training at University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

Muyi Xiao is a producer at The New York Times specializing in Visual Investigations, a new form of accountability and explanatory journalism that combines traditional reporting with advanced digital forensics, such as collecting and parsing information from large volumes of videos, photos and audio, analysis of satellite imagery and 3-D reconstructions of crime scenes. Muyi is also a non-resident fellow at ChinaFile where she previously worked as its Visuals Editor from 2017 to 2020. In 2019, she cofounded Chinese Storytellers, a community of multi-lingual non-fiction content creators that publishes a newsletter every two weeks. Muyi grew up in China and worked there from 2012, first as a photo editor for Reuters then as a multimedia reporter for Tencent and more. Her bylines appear on The New York Times, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, TIME, BBC and more. In 2015, Muyi was awarded the Magnum Foundation/NYU Photography and Human Rights Fellowship. Later, she was admitted into the International Center of Photography’s New Media Narratives program with the Director’s Scholarship. Muyi was the executive producer of ‘Down from the Mountains’, a film that won the World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Long Form First Prize in 2018. The same year, she was nominated for the Joop Swart Masterclass. Muyi served as a jury member for Open Society Foundation’s Moving Walls 25 and the 2019 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest.

Dr. Wan Yang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology. Trained in engineering, computer science and infectious disease modeling, she uses mathematical models and computer simulations to study the transmission dynamics of infectious diseases and predict epidemics. Her work with colleagues has provided modeling support to outbreak response to seasonal influenza, the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and the recent 2019 measles outbreak in the US. Dr. Yang is also working on modeling the current 2019 novel coronavirus epidemic.

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