Is AOC Literally Responsible for COVID Infections After Posting Race-Baiting Video?


Some of New York City’s denizens, unfortunately, didn’t need any encouragement to go out on the town in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak.

There were plenty of pictures of young people packing bars early on in the crisis, when many businesses were letting people work from home (or simply sending them home) but stay-at-home restrictions hadn’t yet been put in place.

At the time, I wondered whether the vexation I felt at those pictures made me an honorary boomer. Now it turns out I was underestimating the stupidity involved — and the effect it would have on other people.

There was one type of establishment, however, that New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told us we weren’t patronizing enough: Chinese restaurants. And that made us all bigots.

“Honestly, it sounds almost so silly to say, but there’s a lot of restaurants that are feeling the pain of racism,” she said March 10 on Instagram Live, as the Washington Examiner reported.

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“People are literally not patroning [sic] Chinese restaurants. They’re not patroning Asian restaurants because of just straight-up racism around the coronavirus.”

Four days later, Ocasio-Cortez told everyone to stop “patroning” pretty much everything because of COVID-19.

“To everyone in NYC but ESPECIALLY healthy people & people under 40 (bc from what I’m observing that’s who needs to hear this again): PLEASE stop crowding bars, restaurants, and public spaces right now. Eat your meals at home. If you are healthy, you could be spreading COVID,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

“What does ‘crowded’ mean? If you can’t stay 6ft away from other people, it’s too close. In general, when going outside try to stay at least 6 feet away from others as much as you possibly can.”

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Were AOC's comments on Chinese restaurants irresponsible?

Now, if you were going to bars and not going to Chinese restaurants because you thought you would be more likely to catch coronavirus there than anywhere else, you may indeed be straight-up racist and you’re definitely straight-up imbecilic. What you needed to be told by your representative, however, wasn’t that it was high time you got you some kung pao chicken because Chinese establishments were feeling the pain.

March of 2020 was one of the fastest-moving months in history, one that began with Super Tuesday and ended with most of us in some form of lockdown.

All of us were terminally unprepared for what hit us. Even handicapping for that, I still can’t think of any four-day period in which things changed so appreciably that one could go from “why aren’t you out at your local Chinese joint, you privileged racist?” to “why are you even out of your home, millennial idiot?”

The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra pointed out that it wasn’t just that Ocasio-Cortez’s Instagram Live remarks didn’t age particularly well — this was spectacularly ill-timed advice given where AOC’s constituency is:

“Dr. Birx said on 03/24 that the coronavirus had been ‘substantially circulating within the population’ in NYC for ‘four weeks,” he tweeted Thursday.

“That puts the date during the week of 02/23. Here’s AOC more than *2 weeks later* telling people to go out and eat Chinese food or else they’re racist.”

People tend to respond to being called racists, particularly when it includes an entreaty to not be racist and to patronize Chinese restaurants. And note, she didn’t make a differentiation between dining in and takeout in her video. So she thought people were being racist by patronizing — or, well, “patroning” — bars and restaurants that weren’t Chinese joints.

Fair enough. But why not tell people they could stop patronizing everything? Wouldn’t that be just as much of a stand against racism?

As of Saturday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University data, 1,867 people have died of coronavirus in New York City alone.

There are going to be more, obviously. We’ll never know whether or not any of these people took her advice, or got the disease from someone who took her advice, or even from someone at a further remove.

Telling people to go out four days before you tell them to stay in — and telling them they should go out because if they don’t, they might be bigots — is straight-up irresponsible. New Yorkers needed no encouragement to go out, sadly, and there was a woeful lack of encouragement to stay in.

We’re now in a climate where voices in the media are actively blaming the president’s coronavirus news conferences for taking lives, yet no one wants to talk about AOC’s arrant race-baiting insanity at a moment when America needed anything but that.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture