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  • Writer's picturePathogen Prevention Team

Why You Shouldn't Call COVID-19 the "Chinese Virus." | Blog

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

“The Chinese Spread the Virus!” 

“Chinese man attacked while walking down the street.”

Such phrases and headlines are normalized in the world today.

Trump’s Twitter account, which serves as his megaphone to the nation, has actively been posting about the coronavirus pandemic. However, starting on March 16, 2020, Trump began to refer to the virus as the “Chinese Virus.” Other variations included “The Chinese Flu,” “The Chinese Coronavirus,” and “Wuhan Coronavirus.”

When questioned by a journalist, Trump responded, “Because it comes from China. It’s not racist at all, not at all,” the president said. “It comes from China. That’s why. It comes from China. I want to be accurate.”

It Can Stigmatize People!

Researchers in San Francisco found more than 1,000 reported cases of xenophobia, prejudice against people from other countries, toward Chinese Americans and their communities between January 28 and February 24. An informal survey conducted among small businesses owned by Chinese Americans demonstrated that they had lost between 50 to 70 percent of their business in recent days.

It Goes Against the Guidelines!

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced new guidelines on naming new illnesses in 2015. The WHO emphasized that diseases should not be named after specific geographic locations nor cultures. Instead, disease names should include the year of first detection and descriptions of the general symptoms caused or the pathogen that caused the virus.

It Can Be Misleading!

The coronavirus spreads at a rapid pace which affects the world as a whole, hence its label of a pandemic. By calling the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” falsely implies that people outside China are not at risk or that only Asians carry the virus. This is clearly not the case! The US has the most cases, which is still increasing every day. Everyone, no matter what ethnicity they are, is affected. 

Recap: Why You Shouldn't Call It The "Chinese Virus."

Not only does the term “Chinese virus” go against WHO guidelines set in 2015, but it can also harm innocent people and send off a misleading notion to the world.

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