The outbreak of coronavirus has caused Trump to declare a national emergency, schools to switch to online classes and, an unexpected side effect, xenophobia.
Because coronavirus originated in the province of Wuhan, China, countless Asians have been falsely considered carriers of coronavirus. While people’s fear of coronavirus may be valid, it is not an excuse for racist actions. Every race is susceptible to coronavirus; this disease does not discriminate.
When the leaders of our country refer to coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus” or the “Wuhan Virus,” it only increases people’s false beliefs that Asians are the sole carriers of the virus. Trump continues to address the virus using that name with the reasoning that the virus came from China. When a person in a position of power deliberately uses a racist name and continues to deny the xenophobic connotation that the name brings, their actions encourage others to follow. There are consequences to this choice of words, and it is having a negative effect on the Asian community.
At this point in history, no other virus has been named after its country of origin. Even the Spanish Flu, which many people cite to defend calling coronavirus the “Chinese Virus,” likely did not originate in Spain. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified this strain of coronavirus as COVID-19, not the “Chinese Virus.” By using the incorrect name of the coronavirus, people are encouraging racist actions towards the Asian community.
There is blatant racism towards Asians in today’s society, shown by people avoiding areas like Chinatown and attacking Asians. Actions like these do nothing to quell the stigma that all Asians are carriers of coronavirus. Racist and xenophobic actions and words like these have no place in our society.