Experts have warned against naming viruses based on geographic locations as Trump did recently, saying that doing so can stigmatize certain communities or groups.
Donald Trump defended his use of a racist term to describe the coronavirus on Tuesday afternoon, arguing that it was OK to call it the "Chinese virus" because he claimed it was "accurate."
"China was putting out information which was false, that our military gave this to them. That was false. And rather than having an argument, I said that I would call it where it came from. It came from China. So I think it's a very accurate term," he told reporters.
Asked if the term "creates a stigma," Trump replied that he did not think so and claimed that China blaming the U.S. military was responsible for the stigma.
Trump has repeatedly used incorrect terms for the virus in his tweets, even though experts differ on whether the virus actually originated in China.
The World Health Organization's best practices memo also specifically urges that infectious disease not be named for geographic locations. Doing so, they said, "has had unintended negative impacts by stigmatizing certain communities or economic sectors."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned 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."
Still, the Trump administration has shown little concern.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called it the "Wuhan virus" and, according to a report on Tuesday morning, one White House official even called it "kung-flu" when speaking to a Chinese American journalist.
"Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back," the reporter tweeted later.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.