Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and a group of other Democratic senators introduced a resolution calling for the condemnation of the use of terms such as “Chinese Virus” or “Wuhan Virus” to describe COVID-19.
The resolution ties the use of such terms to acts of violence or discrimination carried out against Asian Americans over the past several months.
The resolution “calls on all public officials to condemn and denounce anti-Asian sentiment in any form” and “condemns all manifestations or expressions of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, anti-Asian sentiment, scapegoating, and ethnic or religious intolerance.”
The novel coronavirus that caused a pandemic that has killed more than 300,000 people worldwide originated in Wuhan, China. Some theorize that it was transmitted to humans from bats in a Wuhan outdoor wet market, while others suspect it may have been spread by way of an accidental transmission at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Chinese government attempted to cover up the uncontrolled spread of the virus in the early days after it was discovered, and it has likely underreported the true number of Chinese residents who died from it. The Chinese communist government has since tried to blame the United States for the virus.
Harris’s resolution points out that Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agreed that the use of the term “Chinese coronavirus” was wrong and inappropriate.
A number of mainstream media outlets referred to the virus by its geographical origins in stories and segments before the virus spread throughout the world. Once it became a severe issue in the U.S., sentiment on the use of terms such as “Chinese coronavirus” changed abruptly.
Numerous diseases have been named after the location where they originated, such as Ebola or Zika in recent memory. The 1918 influenza pandemic is still commonly referred to as the Spanish flu.