Trump won't stop using racist terms for coronavirus


Public health experts, including the CDC, have called for an end to the use of stigmatizing terms amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Donald Trump is ignoring calls from public health experts not to use racist terms for the novel coronavirus that contribute to stigmatizing Asians and Asian Americans amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The World Health Organization has warned against using geographic locations to name viruses, saying doing so "has had unintended negative impacts by stigmatizing certain communities or economic sectors."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines stigma as "discrimination against an identifiable group of people, a place, or a nation," and warns that contributing to stigma during the current virus outbreak "hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem."

Yet Trump has used a racist name for the virus at least twice in the last 24 hours.

On Monday night, Trump tweeted: "The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!"

And on Tuesday morning, Trump used the term as he attacked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who has been asking Trump for more federal resources to handle an outbreak in his state.

"Cuomo wants 'all states to be treated the same.' But all states aren’t the same. Some are being hit hard by the Chinese Virus, some are being hit practically not at all. New York is a very big 'hotspot', West Virginia has, thus far, zero cases. Andrew, keep politics out of it," Trump tweeted

China itself has criticized U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for using the name "Wuhan virus" for the novel coronavirus, pointing out that the virus may not have even originated in the country.

"Despite the fact that the WHO has officially named this novel type of coronavirus, (a) certain American politician, disrespecting science and the WHO decision, jumped at the first chance to stigmatize China and Wuhan with it. We condemn this despicable practice," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said earlier this month, according to CNBC.

Calling the virus the "Chinese virus" or "Wuhan virus" also politicizes the outbreak, as Republican politicians and other conservatives openly defend the use of the terms despite their stigmatizing nature.

Trump told Americans not to politicize "the coronavirus" just a few weeks ago.

"Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right?" Trump said at a rally in South Carolina on Feb. 29. "Coronavirus, they're politicizing it."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.