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CityLab Daily: Chinatowns Face a Particularly Brutal Winter

Also today: A story thread on the past and present of Washington, D.C., and Latin America is unprepared for the Covid vaccine.

Chinatowns in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and others U.S. cities have been hit hard by the economic effects of the pandemic. 

Chinatowns in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and others U.S. cities have been hit hard by the economic effects of the pandemic. 

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Corrected

Weeks before the U.S. reported its first case of Covid-19 in January, Chinatowns were already suffering economically as xenophobic fears over the so-called “Wuhan virus” kept customers away. Shops and restaurants were hit even harder when cities went on lockdown. And even as public health restrictions eased this summer, many of the once-bustling immigrant enclaves have remained ghost towns.

Data from Yelp shows that consumer interest in the Chinatowns of six major cities fell further between February and November than in their surrounding metros — with the New York City and San Francisco Chinatowns especially hard hit. Locals partly blame the lasting anti-Asian sentiment, and as Laura Bliss writes, these communities were uniquely impacted in more than one way. Now as the U.S. faces a second surge of cases, some fear that these historic neighborhoods may never return to their pre-pandemic heyday. Today in CityLab:  Chinatown Businesses Face a Particularly Brutal Winter