Authorities are investigating two attacks this week in New York City as possible hate crimes connected to the Coronavirus outbreak.
As of Thursday, New York City had 95 confirmed cases of the disease, with 328 in New York State.
A 23-year-old woman and a 59-year-old man of Asian descent in New York City were attacked in separate incidents, according to NBC News.
The first incident occurred when a student at the Zoni Language School in Midtown Manhattan was punched by another woman who said, “Where’s your corona mask, you Asian —–.” Police say the alleged attacker is a student at the Empire Beauty School, located in the same building as the victim’s school, and knows the victim.
‘To be clear: there is zero evidence that people of Asian descent bear any additional responsibility for the transmission of the coronavirus,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement on Wednesday.
“This incident was not only despicable but also illegal, and I am directing the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation to make sure the assailant is held accountable.”
In another incident, police say a suspect approached a 59-year-old man of Asian descent on Madison Avenue in East Harlem and made anti-Asian statements.
The suspect then kicked the victim, causing him to fall to the ground, before fleeing in an unknown direction, according to police. According to CBSNews, the suspect, a teen, allegedly told the victim to go back to his country and mentioned the coronavirus
The video shows the altercation on the N train in Brooklyn, with the angry straphanger yelling at the man to move away from him — an apparent act of discrimination based on the man’s ethnicity. The Asian community has seen an uptick in racist incidents against them since the outbreak of COVID-19, which began in China.
“I don’t want him under me!” the man is heard exclaiming in the expletive-laced video. “Tell him to move!”
The subject of his tirade was an Asian man who appeared to be minding his own business on the train, and said nothing back to the man during the rant, and didn’t move.
Police are also investigating this incident.