A high school student in Los Angeles was attacked last week when bullies accused him of having the coronavirus because he is Asian American.
The 16-year-old was taken to the emergency room to be checked out, CBS News reported last week.
“He went to the hospital originally, and went to the emergency room,” said executive director of the L.A. County Human Relations Commission Robin Toma during a press conference last Thursday, according to CBS News. “They were taking MRIs to ensure he didn’t have a concussion or other harm.”
The student’s name and school have not been released.
At the same press conference, LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis condemned the bullies’ actions and made clear that the coronavirus is not something residents of LA should be worrying about, blaming the spread of misinformation.
“I am concerned because, as someone who is also of immigrant background, I know what it means to face discrimination and racial profiling,” Solis said at the press conference.
“And when I heard of the recent incident of a young child being bullied and actually was assaulted because he was pointed out as being of Asian background — and children unfortunately repeat things that are said by other people, including their own parents, so we need to put a stop to that.”
“We need to say that there needs to be a rational discussion about what’s happening,” Solis continued. “There’s only one case in L.A. County that we know of … that person is being quarantined. And right now, we need to do everything to reaffirm our support to the [Asian Pacific Islander] community.”
LA County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo said that bullying will not be tolerated.
“Our goal is to send out accurate information to all of our 80 districts, reaching over 2 million children,” Duardo said. “To tell them that there is no need for excessive fear, that there is very minimal risk of contracting the coronavirus, and that we will not tolerate any type of bullying.”
It’s unclear how many people were involved in the altercation or if the bullies were being punished.
RELATED VIDEO: Global Efforts Against the Spread of the Coronavirus Continue to Take Place
As public health officials stressed at the press conference last week, the novel coronavirus, now named COVID-19 is not something that U.S. residents should be overly concerned about.
While the global number of cases of the novel coronavirus is over 76,000, there have been only 15 confirmed cases in the U.S., according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control released last week.
Those 15 cases cover seven states, with eight in California.
Washington, Arizona, Texas, Maine, Wisconsin all have one confirmed case, and Illinois has two, according to Business Insider.