The president’s recent comments on Twitter about the virus being related to China have been widely censured, particularly by To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before star Lana Condor.
There are, as of 19 March, more than 219,000 cases of coronavirus in the world, spanning China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, France, Spain, the UK and the US. Some 8,700 of those infected are in the US, where the pandemic is becoming more serious by the day. Only one state has no confirmed coronavirus cases, and several parts of America are currently operating under a state of emergency.
And yet, when discussing the Covid-19 crisis in recent tweets, President Donald Trump has continually and repeatedly referred to it as the “Chinese virus”.
Trump, tweeting about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the economy, wrote: “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!”
Trump’s comments have drawn criticism from several online, who have pointed out how his words are putting the Asian American community at risk.
“You have no idea the ramifications your racist words and actions have on the Asian American community. You simply cannot even fathom the danger you are putting our community in,” she wrote.
“How dare you. You should be ashamed of yourself. You call yourself a leader? You know what leaders do? They LEAD by setting good examples and ACTION… Please. Be better. So we aren’t afraid to leave our house in fear someone will verbally or physically abuse us because of your xenophobia.”
Elsewhere, China’s foreign ministry criticised Trump’s comments for spreading stigma against Asians around the world.
Geng Shuang, spokesperson for the ministry, said in a statement: “Some US politicians have tried to stigmatise China … which China strongly condemns. We urge the US to stop this despicable practice. We are very angry and strongly oppose it [the tweet].”
Others on social media have also called out the president for his comments, decrying them as racist.
Trump isn’t the only politician who continues to use the insensitive language, however. Republican politicians, including Senator Tom Cotton, have been calling coronavirus the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus” in statements.
All this, despite the fact that both the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that phrases like the “Chinese virus” and the “Wuhan virus” are incorrect and only serve to spread stigma and vilify those of Asian descent in the community.
So here’s some advice to Trump and the others who continue to call it the “Chinese virus”. Just don’t. Don’t do that. It’s incorrect, it’s insensitive and it’s doing damage to Asian communities.
This story was originally published on 17 March and has been updated.