President Donald Trump is facing backlash after he referred to the coronavirus as the "Chinese virus" in a tweet Monday night. The president's usage of the term came just hours after he gave an address to the nation Monday afternoon about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and just days after he referred to the virus as "a foreign virus" in an Oval Office address last week.
A number of officials have warned that such terms fuel a stigma surrounding the virus, with the World Health Organization (WHO) previously advising people to refrain from attaching "locations or ethnicity to the disease."
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2020
"This is not a 'Wuhan Virus,' 'Chinese Virus,' or 'Asian Virus,'" they explained. "The official name for the disease was deliberately chosen to avoid stigmatisation –the 'co' stands for Corona, 'vi' for virus and 'd' for disease, 19 is because the disease emerged in 2019."
"These words & language can perpetuate negative stereotypes or assumptions, strengthen false associations between [COVID-19] & other factors, create widespread fear, or dehumanise those who have the disease," WHO added in a tweet.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield has also agreed that it is wrong to refer to the coronavirus as a "Chinese coronavirus," according to The Hill.
Keep scrolling to see how social media reacted to Trump's tweet.
"It wasn't fair or accurate to call the 1918 pandemic the Spanish flu, but that's what it's now called (except in Spain, where it's 'the 1918 flu pandemic')," wrote one person. "But a deliberate effort to rename Covid-19 as the 'Chinese virus' strikes me as an exercise in xenophobia and scapegoating."
Friends, let's please not refer to COVID19 as a "Chinese" or "Wuhan" virus. The term is xenophobic and hurtful. The CDC & WHO discourage naming viruses after geographic locations. We need to band together, not further divide. Here's guidance from @aaja.https://t.co/dPB8PrXDTY— Katie Kim (@KatieKimNBC) March 17, 2020
"Those who call [COVID-19] as Wuhan Virus or as Trump calls it Chinese Virus shd know that WHO has a guideline on how to name a new Human Infectious disease so not to cause offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups," reacted another person.
"Dear [Donald Trump]: Asian Americans will likely encounter more discrimination because of your tweet below. Please stop your unnecessary rhetoric," U.S. Representative Ted Lieu wrote. "[COVID-19] is now an American virus, an Italian virus, a Spanish virus. We all are impacted & we all need to work together."
"There's a difference between saying a virus came from China versus calling it a Chinese virus," he continued in a second tweet. "Asian Americans have already been assaulted & discriminated against because of this type of rhetoric. This language is totally unnecessary to address the crisis we are all facing."
"I'm an ER Doc and don't claim to be an infectious disease expert, but looking into the data I've found insufficient evidence to support racism as an effective antiviral," reacted somebody else.
To my Chinese friends, we love you, we respect you, we admire you. #ChineseVirus is the utmost disrespect I apologize and we will never forget what you have contributed. Love you to the moon and back. pic.twitter.com/O5zGfuspWJ— Batista007™️ (@BatistaESP007) March 17, 2020
"Its called the Coronavirus and its now as American as apple pie so stop racist comments," actress Mia Farrow responded.
"The entire reason the medical community named the virus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes COVID-19 is to prevent what you just did," commented another person. "What matters is the virus and its effects, not any country of origin. Stop making things worse by doing the opposite of what's recommended."
"There it is," added one medical professional. "I've been deathly afraid of this exact moment where Trump turns to racism and xenophobia and calls COVID-19 the 'Chinese Virus.' We are in deep trouble as a nation now that President of the United States makes the conscious decision to go down this dark path of hate."
"It's not 'the Chinese Virus' anymore than it was the 'spanish influenza,'" responded one. "It's COVID19. These are xenophobic names used by the US government to cast blame for pandemics on other countries. The fact is we were caught unprepared due to Trump's own action, not China's."
"This US leader is stoking racism and hatred when the world needs solidarity and cooperation to fight a common enemy as many world leaders and almost all medical experts advocated," commented somebody else. "Not surprised given his track record."
I have a small sense of what its like. Nobody should face that. #WithYouToday ✊🏽— Abdul El-Sayed (@AbdulElSayed) March 17, 2020
"Anyone who says this a 'Chinese Virus' clearly doesn't understand how viruses work or their just a– holes," added another person. "So if we go by this 'logic' then every virus that has came from America and spread across the globe should be the American virus. [Don't be racist]."
"'Chinese Virus?!?!'" tweeted one person. "Now you're adding racist hysteria to an already dire situation??? In times like this, we need a sane, steady hand at the wheel, and that ain't you. So why don't you just STFU if you can't say anything useful?"
"[Donald Trump] How many times must it be pointed out to you that 'Chinese Virus' is a racist term?" asked somebody else. "You obviously enjoy using it even though it is inappropriate and offensive. Just like you."
"The virus is called [COVID-19]!!!" commented another person. "This tweet from [Donald Trump] is LITERALLY KILLING PEOPLE!!! promoting hatred/discrimination/hate-crime towards Chinese and even only look-Chinese that we already sadly saw in the news."
"This virus isn't Chinese, but millions of Americans are," wrote someone else. "We need [Donald Trump] to attack the virus, not our own people. Racist tweets put many Americans and our families at risk."
Calling it a “Chinese Virus” makes me incredibly sad. I’m a proud American (happen to be born in China), who is an American thru & thru. This global 🌎 virus knows no race, no creed, or ethnic origin. Let’s conquer #COVID19 together, not apart.🙏 https://t.co/Pzpvy3PAiD— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) March 17, 2020
"[Donald Trump] sir!" added another. "As you call for unity you are dividing people calling this virus the Chinese Virus instead of its name the Coronavirus or COVID-19. Just waiting for you to call Ebola the Africa virus. You need to stop. People are dying! Please stop!"