Authorities say the 23-year-old woman, a student from Korea, was entering a building on West 34th Street just before 10 a.m. Tuesday when she was grabbed by the hair and punched in the face.
The woman allegedly followed up her question by saying, "You've got coronavirus, you Asian (expletive)."
"I don't know why she did that to me. I didn't even do anything to her. I was just standing at the door, just trying to get into the building," said the victim who asked not to be identified.
The victim said she was pushed in the shoulder in addition to being punched in the chin.
The suspect fled the scene.
The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital with a possible dislocated jaw.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the assault as a possible bias crime, and Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement directing state police to assist in the investigation.
"I am disgusted to hear that a woman of Asian descent was physically assaulted in Manhattan on Tuesday, an attack apparently motivated by the bigoted notion that an Asian person is more likely to carry or transmit the novel coronavirus," Cuomo said. "To be clear, there is zero evidence that people of Asian descent bear any additional responsibility for the transmission of the coronavirus...No one in this state should ever feel intimidated or threatened because of who they are or how they look. Diversity is our greatest strength, it's one of the things that makes New York great, and in difficult times, we need to band together even tighter."
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