Phobias are a common manifestation of anxiety. After more than a year and counting in an unprecedented pandemic, many people with preexisting anxiety are seeing these fears exacerbated, while those who didn't have the disorder are now developing it. The mental and emotional cost of the pandemic is unknown, and it is likely a societal trauma that will be discussed and unpacked for decades.

Adjusting to pandemic life

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a parallel escalation in sinophobic (or anti-Chinese) violence, and even before the pandemic hit the U.S., people racialized as Chinese were already experiencing an uptick in racism. As early as January, I learned to suppress my sneezes as much as I could in public, or else people around me would cover their noses, offended.

When COVID-19 reached the U.S., the racial violence only escalated. Before leaving the house, I would engage in my usual routine of scrolling through social media, only to see people who look like me attacked or even spit on, which amounts to biological warfare amidst a pandemic. I couldn't help wondering if I would be next. Going outside became a harrowing