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NYC subway rider sprays Febreze on man inside train amid coronavirus panic

Coronavirus-related racism seeps into U.S.

A viral video showing a New York City subway rider spraying Febreze air freshener at another passenger believed to be Asian is being investigated by the NYPD, police said. The incident is the latest one attributed to xenophobia against Asians amid growing coronavirus fears.

The footage, which was originally posted on Facebook, shows a male passenger standing up from his seat and saying out loud, "tell him to move." He then grabs a Febreze can and sprays it in the direction of the other passenger who is standing in front of the train's door. Rodney Harrison, NYPD's chief of detectives, said the incident happened Wednesday morning aboard a train in Brooklyn and the video was being reviewed by the NYPD's hate crimes unit.

Posted by Doris Au on Wednesday, March 4, 2020

The clip was also shared by "Wu Assassins" actress Celia Au who called out people discriminating Asians. "There was an individual who was standing next to an Asian individual and started spraying Febreze around his feet and around him," Au said. "Stop discriminating cause the virus definitely doesn't."

The CDC has stated race does not play any role in transmitting or contracting the virus, but racist incidents against Asians have been on the rise since the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, late last year. Asian American businesses have also taken a major hit.

"Asian Americans are just like other Americans," New York City councilman Peter Koo told "CBS This Morning." "We are all susceptible to virus."

More than 101,000 people have been infected with the virus globally and more than 3,400 people have died. There have been 14 deaths in the U.S. — none in New York. 

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