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Woman assaulted in Midtown apparent coronavirus-connected hate crime

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Posted at 2:26 PM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 14:26:38-04

MIDTOWN — A 23-year-old woman was attacked in Midtown on Tuesday morning in an apparent hate crime connected to the novel coronavirus, officials said.

She was on West 34th Street near Fifth Avenue when another woman made anti-Asian statements and punched the victim in the face, an NYPD spokesman said. The victim was taken to the hospital and the Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the attack was "apparently motivated by the bigoted notion that an Asian person is more likely to carry or transmit the novel coronavirus."

"To be clear: there is zero evidence that people of Asian descent bear any additional responsibility for the transmission of the coronavirus," Gov. Cuomo said. "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."

This isn't the first attack on an Asian individual since the coronavirus outbreak began. Viral video shows a man spray another commuter with Febreze on a train.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said there's been discrimination toward Asian communities.

"I want to emphasize to all New Yorkers it is absolutely unacceptable to discriminate against Asian individuals and Asian communities in the midst of this crisis," he said after the Febreze incident. "And by the way in case you haven't been paying attention, this crisis has now extended all over the world and we are unfortunately experiencing community transmission. We're experiencing cases outside of the Asian community. So, not only is discrimination immoral, its inaccurate."

Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).