Coronavirus, COVID-19, or 'China Virus': A deadly issue of terminology
March 17, 2020 1:51 PM   Subscribe

Trump, facing the greatest crisis of his presidency, has resorted to using language that doubles down on his assertion of taking no "responsibility at all" and hints at where he intends to shift the blame, despite the advice of the CDC and the World Health Organization. Unfortunately, such an action also exacerbates hate and puts American lives at risk.

The trend lines are clear, as the hate has escalated from simple discrimination even among acquaintances to harassment and mockery to defacing property and verbal assault and assaults using water and air freshener.

There's been bullying in schools and stores, there's been physical assault and the latest, an attempted murder, which left a child slashed across his face.

There have been incidents around the world and ideally, America would set a positive example instead of reinforcing the xenophobia.

Unfortunately, this is all following a predictable path since xenophobia has been intertwined with public health discourse for a very long time.

You can look at Jews accused of causing the Black Death, or even more recently how an 1832 cholera outbreak was attributed to the "filthy" Irish. People will look for someone to blame, especially when the authorities have done so little, and are so eager to pass the buck.

Some may even cite the "Spanish flu" of 1918 to defend Trump's language as a simple attribution of origin without realizing the disease actually started in the United States.

Still, there are reasons for hope. Bystanders have stood up in the face of racism, civil rights groups and lawmakers are speaking out, and others, despite the xenophobia, are working to save lives instead of trying to find someone to blame or playing geopolitics over it.
posted by Borborygmus (61 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
I really wish they had used SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-2 for both the virus and the disease which some had proposed instead of simultaneously introducing a new name for the virus and the disease it causes.
posted by atrazine at 2:10 PM on March 17, 2020 [14 favorites]

There is just nothing more to say. Racism kills. And, karma, karma is going to be a royal bitch about this.
posted by Mrs Potato at 2:17 PM on March 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

There's a typically gross Op/ed piece by right-wing troll Marc Thiessen on WaPo right now blaming china for the outbreak, pretty much invoking Trump's mirror all the way. I'm not linking to it because it's hot garbage, might be paywalled, and easy to find for those who might want to hold their noses and read it anyway.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:18 PM on March 17, 2020 [6 favorites]

Here's some language: Calling for his Nuremberg-style indictment
posted by growabrain at 2:19 PM on March 17, 2020 [20 favorites]

Everyone with a Twitter account make #TrumpVirus a thing.
posted by Splunge at 2:21 PM on March 17, 2020 [13 favorites]

A reminder that exponential growth is very sensitive to the number of people exposed each day and the probability of an exposure becoming an infection.

Small efforts can make huge differences in these situations. They compound and they compound hard and they compound quick. Flatten the curve. Social distancing and washing your hands WORKS.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:28 PM on March 17, 2020 [16 favorites]

Karma is a blind wheel

Too many who don't have the bad Karma will be impacted, and those who do will skate right by...
posted by Windopaene at 2:28 PM on March 17, 2020 [6 favorites]

I really wish they had used SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-2 for both the virus and the disease which some had proposed instead of simultaneously introducing a new name for the virus and the disease it causes.

Some of the reasoning is discussed in a recent Nature Microbiology paper by the Coronaviridae Study Group (CSG):
By uncoupling the naming conventions used for coronaviruses and the diseases that some of them cause in humans and animals, we wish to support the WHO in its efforts to establish disease names in the most appropriate way (for further information, see the WHO’s guidelines for disease naming38). The further advancement of naming conventions is also important because the ongoing discovery of new human and animal viruses by next-generation sequencing technologies can be expected to produce an increasing number of viruses that do not (easily) fit the virus–disease model that was widely used in the pre-genomic era (Box 1). Having now established different names for the causative virus (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease (COVID-19), the CSG hopes that this will raise awareness in both the general public and public health authorities regarding the difference between these two entities. The CSG promotes this clear distinction because it will help improve the outbreak management and also reduces the risk of confusing virus and disease, as has been the case over many years with SARS-CoV (the virus) and SARS (the disease). (emph. added)
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:34 PM on March 17, 2020 [15 favorites]

Another example, from CBS News' White House Correspondent.
This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the “********” to my face. Makes me wonder what they’re calling it behind my back.
(I've blocked out the racist slur of a name.)

I'm also reminded of when HIV/AIDS used to be called GRID, for "Gay-related immune deficiency". I think that name was picked because it was description, not hateful, and it was quickly discarded once folks realized AIDS was much bigger than just gay Americans. But the hateful stigma of that stuck forever. Not to mention all the hateful backronyms formed as "jokes" from AIDS.

People are just as awful to minorities about disease as everything else.

(in my nasty moments I've been thinking of COVID-19 as "Trumpox".)
posted by Nelson at 2:44 PM on March 17, 2020 [19 favorites]

You know, dude-in-chief, you don’t take responsibility, you are given responsibility, which you have spectacularly failed to live up to.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:47 PM on March 17, 2020 [15 favorites]

"The buck stops anywhere else but here."
posted by brundlefly at 2:54 PM on March 17, 2020 [9 favorites]

Mod note: Couple comments deleted. This is a post about literal attacks on Asian-Americans promoted by xenophobic racist rhetoric. If your response to that is to offer xenophobic racist rhetoric, Metafilter's not the place for you, goodbye.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:01 PM on March 17, 2020 [104 favorites]

I have the fear that Quarantined Trump undistracted by rallies or Mar-a-Lago parties is going to stir up quite a lot of shit, and it's going to get scary.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:09 PM on March 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

This is tragically typical of Trump. I was terrified something like the coronavirus would happen on his watch, because I knew he'd only make it worse. I don't care what you think about Hillary; she wouldn't have wasted time dismissing this as a hoax, she wouldn't be giving incoherent press conferences about how we've got this under control and anybody who wants a test can get one, and she wouldn't be calling this the freaking China Virus.

I remember thinking that W was never right about anything, ever. But I think W at least believed a lot of his own bullshit, while Trump just likes to lie. During his inauguration speech he literally told people standing in the rain that it was a sunny day. And his intentions are never good. Ever. W was a horrifying frat boy with sociopathic tendencies, but he had some flickers of conscience and he didn't get off on doing harm the way that Trump does. Trump is just nothing but mean, he's a little old Biff Tannen.

If he gets in again, I think we might be done. For real. We might survive his administration, but the harm he sets in motion will finish us off.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:44 PM on March 17, 2020 [31 favorites]

For what it’s worth, the recent spike in gun sales in response to the COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t primarily appear to be the typical “Real Americans” who think they can solve all their problems by shooting them, but rather a number of Asian Americans who seem to be arming themselves in self-defense instead.

Which is really a sad indictment of America’s tendency towards sheer unavailability of items that can be used to save lives compared to the absolute abundance of items whose sole purpose is to take lives away. How many testing kits currently exist, and how accessible are they? How many guns exist, and how accessible are they?

But I’m not trying to start a gun control debate (please don’t pick up that thread) as much as I’m trying to explain that when your only tool is a demagogic hammer of hatred and ignorance, you’re going to try to turn every possible challenge or responsibility into a nail-shaped enemy. And those “enemies” are often real people who definitely pick up on this.
posted by Arson Lupine at 4:01 PM on March 17, 2020 [9 favorites]

Oh great, something else to remind The Whelk of how the London fire of 1666 was made worse by people running around looking for Dutchmen to beat up cause of course it was a vast hollandish plot!
posted by Naberius at 4:01 PM on March 17, 2020 [6 favorites]

The thing that is really going to do the racist's heads in is that several Asian countries are handling the crisis more effectively than America. All those graphs show far better public health policy outcomes.

I'm actually kind of worried some western countries like the United States and England might end up as pariah states because of both their leadership ineptitude and structural political factors that make acting in the interest of the commonweal unlikely.
posted by srboisvert at 4:04 PM on March 17, 2020 [25 favorites]

a) SARS-CoV-2


Is what the virologists are callin it.

b) racists are bullshit.

c) there's a few PhD theses buried in the linguistics of obfuscation in the last six weeks.

d) wth is wrong with journos who just won't go back to the original question? e.g. so, uh, where *are* the millions of tests again?

e) Laurie Garrett has hated covid-19 from day one, saying it's just to close to the sound of 'covert'. I believe her now.
posted by j_curiouser at 4:34 PM on March 17, 2020 [11 favorites]

When I was a new pharmacist in 1989 I remember working on the infectious disease ward of my hospital.
It was filled with AIDS patients, mostly gay men, but also hemophiliacs and IV drug users, all of whom I got to watch die, one after another.

The Reagan administration considered AIDS a disease of homosexuality. I've always wondered if his administration
didn't blame the disease on a particular marginalized group how funding and research would have changed, and how many would have been spared; how many I wouldn't have had to watch die while their partners watched on in anguish.

That was 30 years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday.

And now I'm watching the same thing unfold again. This time it is a president who is xenophobic, racist and anti-science who tries to blame the virus on the Chinese. Over the next few months I'm going to get to watch people die, one after another, just like I did 30 years ago.

We all have the capacity to learn from the past (even if its the very recent past), but as a society we never do.
posted by codex99 at 4:37 PM on March 17, 2020 [58 favorites]

I am Chinese and have felt the difference in how people treat me in public. Petty example: I’m pretty small and take up less than a subway seat, and normally see that people look around and choose to sit next to me first. Now it’s last! Or as least it was, when I was still taking the subway.

I’m trying to use it as a learning experience— for many POC being treated as a threat for how you look is a lifelong experience, not just something born in a pandemic. It’s worn on me having people not want to be near me, and having to bite my tongue while people with power over me say weird racist shit (that part has always happened, but it’s more now). Hopefully this experience will help me understand others better in the future.
posted by sometamegazelle at 4:52 PM on March 17, 2020 [59 favorites]

Trump, facing the greatest crisis of his presidency, has resorted to using language...

Yeah, nah. He's a racist. He's always been a racist. He hasn't been driven to this by a crisis. He campaigned on a wall to keep Mexicans out, FFS. This isn't new.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:05 PM on March 17, 2020 [46 favorites]

COVID-19 sounds like something I need to install to get Windows Media Player to play a file.

I've heard a few anti-Italian stereotypes in the last week or so, from people saying that the disease is only so bad in Italy because Italians are a "touchy-feely culture" who "don't respect personal space" and refuse to follow instructions because they are so "hot-blooded" and so on.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 5:06 PM on March 17, 2020 [13 favorites]

This is an excellent post. Also a good time to remember how casually African place names have been used for diseases, such as Zika, Ebola, and West Nile Virus, and this is also very much not ok.
posted by Rumple at 5:07 PM on March 17, 2020 [28 favorites]

"Blame the closest non-white" has been Trump's go-to strategy since the days of the Central Park 5. As his voting base gets decimated by a disease he has failed to control, and which he can't "fake news" away, watch the anti-China rhetoric ramp up. The Asian-Americans buying guns are reacting to a real growing threat, which is more than you can say for most gun buyers worried about Obama.
posted by benzenedream at 5:13 PM on March 17, 2020 [13 favorites]

Ebola...named by CDC Special Pathogens legend Karl Johnson. The first outbreak known to the West was 1976 in East Africa near the Kenya-Uganda border. Johnson *intentionally* broke with tradition in naming the virus. Instead of incorporating the actual inhabited village/region name -specifically to avoid stigmatization - he choose a semi-proximate geographic feature: the Ebola River.

Trends followed this profoundly insightful break.

Can't remember if that's an early anecdote in the hyperbolic Hot Zone (Preston), or in one of the Ebola sections of Garrett's The Coming Plague. Shrugs.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:03 PM on March 17, 2020 [22 favorites]

Unfortunately, this is all following a predictable path since xenophobia has been intertwined with public health discourse for a very long time.

You can look at Jews accused of causing the Black Death [...]

You will probably not be astonished to hear that Jews (aka "Soros" and "Israel") are being accused of causing the coronavirus too.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:22 PM on March 17, 2020 [20 favorites]

For what it’s worth, the recent spike in gun sales in response to the COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t primarily appear to be the typical “Real Americans” who think they can solve all their problems by shooting them, but rather a number of Asian Americans who seem to be arming themselves in self-defense instead.

That is interesting, do you have a source for that?
posted by biogeo at 6:25 PM on March 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

I feel like it's just punny silliness without any spite coming across, but it still strikes me as awful.

When someone above goes (I've blocked out the racist slur of a name.), I'm not sure proceeding to repeat it with added "I don't think it's *actually* racist, just some punny fun" bonus
posted by CrystalDave at 6:35 PM on March 17, 2020 [12 favorites]

About half of our student body who are stuck here over Spring Break are Chinese or Italian, due to special relationships with those countries. And they are probably stuck here for the duration. Their lives are permanently disrupted.

I am super-paranoid about how they are being treated. So far I haven't heard or witnessed anything other than respect, but hearing what people are reporting I know their must already be horrible shit going on in this city, however inclusive it may be on the surface. I had a conversation through a half-closed door today that just about broke my heart. And I wish I could reassure people, but they're fully aware of the nationalistic saber-rattling in their own countries. The PRC is authoritarian and Trump is an idiot and the economy is collapsing and America is a backwards, bigoted country in some ways.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:36 PM on March 17, 2020 [10 favorites]

Mod note: A few comments removed; we don't need to spend a lot of time speculating on the motivation for racist names let alone repeating them, and we don't need to riff on Trump & The Stand etc. Please dial it in a little.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:45 PM on March 17, 2020 [9 favorites]

Maybe I made a mistake, bringing up how Hillary Clinton would've responded to this differently. Mention of her name does tend to derail any discussion. But I don't think it's a mistake to talk about how badly Trump is handling this pandemic, and the existential danger to humanity that another Trump term represents. Of course he sees the coronavirus as an opportunity to double down on his racist brand. Of course he knows it will endanger POC, both here and abroad. It isn't that he's just dumb, or even that he doesn't care. Like the meme said: Cruelty is the point.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:19 PM on March 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

> That is interesting, do you have a source for that?

Yes, sorry. I normally wouldn't make a claim like that without providing evidence, but I wasn't in a position to craft a more technical comment at the time.

US Gun Store Owners Say Asian Customers Are Buying Weapons Over Coronavirus Backlash Fears (Newsweek)
US sales of guns and ammunition soar amid coronavirus panic buying (The Guardian)

It has been reported in other outlets, but most of the published stories share sources and refer to the same communities in California and Washington, where some of the earliest reported outbreaks in the US were located. We can't say whether/how this trend will hold for additional communities, but I'd imagine it's some function of how panicked people become and how much they're encouraged to act like threatening, xenophobic imbeciles.
posted by Arson Lupine at 7:20 PM on March 17, 2020 [12 favorites]

It's the Trump Virus. Say it over and over until he has another 3AM. conniption.
posted by ocschwar at 7:56 PM on March 17, 2020 [10 favorites]

That is interesting, do you have a source for that?

Yeah, it was on the LA local news not too long ago (ABC7). The owner was doing booming business and said that most of the buyers were Asian. I'd guess in the LA case it's also a bit of memory from the Rodney King Riots when LA was full of looting and arson, etc. The immigrant mom-and-pop type places bore the brunt of getting ransacked and torched. In a very general way from what I remember of that time.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:06 PM on March 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

To quote Doug Stanhope, 'Next time fucking vote.' Amidst the drop in oil and the looting of the treasury that is being engineered by this man and his mob handlers, Putin sows strife and chaos. The stock market is just one more way to fleece the marks in this country, and unfortunately, many of us taking the ride.
posted by sfts2 at 8:28 PM on March 17, 2020 [6 favorites]

What can we do to help? Obviously pushing back against racist rhetoric that we see in person or online is one thing, but what else? In the earlier days of the whole thing I was making an effort to deliberately sit next to people who looked Chinese on the bus, or to buy Chinese food when eating out, but at this stage I am not taking public transport or eating out (in fact, I am pretty much quarantining myself), so what can we still do to support people who are victims of this kind of racism?
posted by lollusc at 9:12 PM on March 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

Washington state's King County has produced an anti-stigma social media toolkit that "provides high resolution images in PDF and PNG formats to help interrupt stigma and reduce bias as it relates to coronavirus. These images are intended for use on social media, and are currently sized for Instagram. However, feel free to repurpose them for other communications channels."

WHO has also published a guide to preventing and addressing social stigma (pdf), which includes:
We recommend a ‘people-first’ language that respects and empowers people in all communication channels, including the media. Words used in media are especially important, because these will shape the popular language and communication on the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

[...] Don’t - attach locations or ethnicity to the disease, this is not a “Wuhan Virus”, “Chinese Virus” or “Asian Virus”.

[...] DO - emphasise the effectiveness of adopting protective measures to prevent acquiring the new coronavirus, as well as early screening, testing and treatment.

[...] Nigeria successfully contained the 2014 Ebola outbreak that affected three other countries in West Africa partly through employing targeted social media campaigns to disseminate accurate information and correct hoax messages circulating on Twitter and Facebook. The intervention was particularly effective because international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), social media influencers, celebrities and bloggers used their broad platforms to forward and share information and opinions on the health communication shared. Fayoyin, A. 2016. Engaging social media for health communication in Africa: Approaches, results and lessons. Journal of Mass Communication and Journalism, 6(315).
posted by katra at 9:27 PM on March 17, 2020 [14 favorites]

Also a good time to remember how casually African place names have been used for diseases, such as Zika, Ebola, and West Nile Virus, and this is also very much not ok.

Agreed. But For the record I will totally be onboard with geographic names for viruses should patient zero ever come from Scratchy Bottom - UK, Horneytown- North Carolina, or of course Fucking - Austria.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 10:22 PM on March 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

The immigrant mom-and-pop type places bore the brunt of getting ransacked and torched

Korean-owned bodegas bore the brunt of getting ransacked because they were widely perceived by the Black communities they "served" as being racist AF. Conflating this with the current climate of anti-Asian racism is disingenuous at best.
posted by Umami Dearest at 2:00 AM on March 18, 2020

Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic. Highly recommended:
The Coronavirus Called America’s Bluff

Like Japan in the mid-1800s, the United States now faces a crisis that disproves everything the country believes about itself.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:34 AM on March 18, 2020 [12 favorites]

Conflating this with the current climate of anti-Asian racism is disingenuous at best.

In each case, the white power structure suddenly “remembered” that the model minority wasn’t “actually” white as soon as it was convenient for them to do so. From the Asian-American perspective, comparing the two (if only by shrugging and nodding toward the other and going “Mmmmm?”) is valid.
posted by Etrigan at 5:34 AM on March 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

What can we do to help?

I have been on the Coronavirus Working Group conference calls on my .edu campus, and I am vey proud that there has been a clear effort to remind everyone that we have to watch out language. Everyone from administrators to staff to faculty to students should be clear that discrimination and bias are wrong, and to avoid it ourselves and call it out by others.

Seeing "we're in this together" over and over is a good reminder.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:47 AM on March 18, 2020 [7 favorites]

Ed Park captures the moment for an Asian guy in NYC in this NYer article.
posted by lowest east side at 6:36 AM on March 18, 2020 [7 favorites]

Two weeks ago, I had a coworker say that the virus was engineered and the “proof” was that Clorox Wipes listed it as one of the pathogens they could kill.

I’ve also seen a lot of weird “stop eating [weird food]” comments in YouTube.

All of these undercurrents make an already shitty situation that much worse.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:04 AM on March 18, 2020 [9 favorites]

Senator Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, triples down on the racism theory of disease. She literally tries to connect the Tiananmen Square massacre to various illnesses.
posted by Nelson at 9:32 AM on March 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was heartened to see Jeremy Lin speak out against this on twitter. We need more voices like that.
posted by of strange foe at 10:17 AM on March 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

The deeply annoying thing to me is that legitimate criticism of the initial coverup/bungling and continuing human rights abuses by the CCP in service of "epidemic control" is being completely overshadowed in the West by this conflation of race and regime/government. In fact, the Chinese government is spinning this frantically to their advantage, to the dismay of many in the Sinosphere (including me) who have always been critical and now also need support from the worldwide left, not just rightwing extremists.

As someone who grew up in Hong Kong but now lives in the West, I've had my fair share of experiences of racism/harassment in public, especially when wearing a mask recently. But it is doubly irritating because I hate what the CCP is doing with this and how Trump has, of course, sucked all of the attention again.
posted by monocot at 12:43 PM on March 18, 2020 [22 favorites]

From the Atlantic article: South Korea, which has had exactly the same amount of time as the U.S. to prepare, is capable of administering 10,000 tests every day. The United States, with a population more than six times larger, had only tested about 10,000 people in total as of Friday. [the 13th]


The WaPo virus simulator article said there were 2179 cases by Friday the 13th. So... one in five people tested, had the virus?

...and they're still not testing everyone with symptoms.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:48 PM on March 18, 2020 [3 favorites]

Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic. Highly recommended:
The Coronavirus Called America’s Bluff
posted by Joe in Australia

excellent article. alas, betteridges law of conclusions likely applies.
posted by lalochezia at 2:53 PM on March 18, 2020

Jack Ma (Alibaba) has released a Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment.

Therefore, Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation have convened a group of medical experts who have just returned from the frontlines of fighting the pandemic. With the support of The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine (FAHZU), they quickly published a guidebook on the clinical experience of how to treat this new coronavirus. The treatment guide offers advice and reference against the pandemic for medical staff around the world who are about to join the war.

Thanks to the medical staff from FAHZU. While taking huge risks in treating COVID-19 patients, they wrote down their treatment experience day and night in this Handbook.

Over the past 50 days, 104 confirmed patients have been admitted to FAHZU, including 78 severe and critically ill ones. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of medical staff and the application of new technologies, to date, we have witnessed a miracle. No staff is infected, and there is no missed diagnosis or patient deaths.

posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:43 AM on March 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

That sort of thing is why the initial UK 'well, we'll just take it on the chin and get it over with' response was so incredibly stupid and cruel. Yes, maybe it will turn out to be impossible to prevent 70 or 80 percent of the population from getting the virus eventually, but the longer you stretch that out, not only are more of them going to be able to get good medical treatment, we may come up with better treatment regimens that will keep people from needing ventilators.

I do think we have to be concerned about the economy in at least the most basic sense, people have to be able to get food and necessities, and I do think there will be some nasty balancing going on with that, but just shrugging your shoulders and deciding it's fine if hundreds of thousands of Britons die in the next few months, yeesh.
posted by tavella at 11:22 AM on March 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

Once various Republicans have killed 2M+ people through various greedy and self-serving schemes, can we at last have some accountability and send them to jail for manslaughter?
posted by benzenedream at 5:05 PM on March 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

New polls show effect of right-wing media's dismissive and conspiratorial coronavirus coverage - "Limbaugh, among others, floated a conspiracy theory that the virus was created in a Chinese lab -- despite having no real evidence to support the allegation. The irresponsible coverage had a real effect... Republicans were more likely to believe conspiracy theories related to the virus. According to Pew Research, 37% of Republicans or those who leaned toward the GOP responded that they believed the virus was created in a lab, compared to 21% of Democrats or those who leaned Democratic."

Pew: "About half say they have seen at least some made-up news about the coronavirus; 29% think it was created in a lab"

Analysis: Trump acts like he wants the US press to be more like China's - "Trump praised a right-wing conspiracy outlet which produces propaganda on his behalf, while simultaneously bashing credible news organizations as untrustworthy sources of information as he struggled to answer basic questions from reporters."

the Chinese government is spinning this frantically to their advantage

Trump's race-baiting-to-change-the-subject gimmick - "This is obviously racist, but it's also an opportunistic gimmick to change the subject away from Trump's massive managerial failures on corona... The CCP is happy to play the race game with Trump. The more all of us are talking about race, the more we are not focusing on the gross managerial irresponsibility of both the CCP and the Trump administration."

Expelling U.S. journalists during coronavirus crisis, China doubles down on media war - "So why, many wonder, would China do this now? One answer: to show it can..."
For China, that messaging makes sense.

The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has shaken China and rattled its leadership. In recent weeks, officials have waged a campaign to erase a deadly coverup and recast the crisis as a victory for the Chinese Communist Party and President Xi Jinping.

In this alternative version of history, being written in real time, the party moved quickly and decisively, marshaling technical prowess to vanquish the virus and diplomatic might to keep foreign critics in line.

Silencing and discrediting reporters is part of this.
Chinese Official Pushes Conspiracy Theory U.S. Spread Virus - "Geng was asked twice if the earlier tweets by his colleague, Zhao, represented the view of the Chinese government. 'I think you may want to ask certain senior U.S. officials -- did they speak on behalf of the U.S. government when they attacked and smeared China recently?' he said in response to one question..."
With the coronavirus spreading from China into the U.S. and around the world, both nations are trading tit-for-tat claims about its origins. While it’s unclear whether Zhao was being facetious, earlier this month he became the first official in China to suggest that the virus didn’t originate there, even though he hasn’t provided any evidence for that claim.

Asked about the claim, Geng had said earlier this week that “the origin of the virus can only be determined by science” and expressed hope the issue would not be used to “stigmatize” any country.
posted by kliuless at 7:10 AM on March 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

Deadly racism in Kansas
The chairman of the Riley County Commissioners suggested this week that the global coronavirus pandemic is not a problem locally because unlike in Italy, there are not a lot of Chinese people living in central Kansas
Be sure to read the quotes for some casual misogyny, too
posted by Nelson at 8:34 AM on March 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

The Wuhan I Know (via) - "''Wuhan Virus', 'Chinese Virus', COVID-19. Doesn't matter the name - my hometown will forever be known for that and only that. I drew this comic to shine light on what people don't know: the beautiful culture, rich history, and strong people of Wuhan. 加油!"
posted by kliuless at 10:01 PM on March 22, 2020 [6 favorites]

G-7 failed to agree on statement after U.S. insisted on calling coronavirus outbreak ‘Wuhan virus’ (WaPo, Mar. 25, 2020)
Other nations in the group of world powers rejected the term because they viewed it as needlessly divisive at a time when international cooperation is required to slow the global pandemic and deal with the scarcity of medical supplies, officials said.

[...] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have discouraged referring to the novel coronavirus by a geographical denomination amid concerns such terms are correlated with a rise in discrimination and targeted violence against Asian Americans.
Guardian (Mar. 26, 2020):
Meanwhile, New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, addressed yet another health crisis and dangerous byproduct of the virus: persecution targeting Asian Americans. James created a hotline to report hate crimes and discrimination earlier this week after people started to describe aggressive, racist behavior perpetrated against them in the name of the virus.

“No one should live in fear for their life because of who they are, what they look like, or where they come from,” James said in a statement.
AG James Launches Hotline to Combat Coronavirus Hate Crimes and Xenophobic Rhetoric (NY AG, Mar. 23, 2020)
Individuals Who Have Experienced Hate Crimes and Bias-Based Incidents Are Encouraged to Call the Ongoing Hotline at 1-800-771-7755, or Email
“During this public health crisis, people are fighting for their lives – fighting to keep their families safe. Yet these incessant, irresponsible, and atrocious naming of COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus” is endangering the lives of Asian Americans. I thank Attorney General James for setting up this necessary hotline for New Yorkers to report coronavirus-related hate crimes or biased-based incidents,” said U.S. Representative Grace Meng. “I have repeatedly called on public officials – from the President to the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives – to abstain from using derogatory language that demonizes Asian Americans. This must stop. Public officials – and the media – must speak truth to power and refrain from dabbling in misinformation or conspiracy theories. I’m urging all New Yorkers to come together, call virus the coronavirus, and report to the hotline those who would use this uncertain time to make racist, xenophobic or biased attacks.”
posted by katra at 6:49 PM on March 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

FBI warns of potential surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans amid coronavirus
The document detailed a March 14 incident in Midland, Texas, in which "three Asian American family members, including a 2-year-old and 6-year-old, were stabbed … The suspect indicated that he stabbed the family because he thought the family was Chinese, and infecting people with the coronavirus."
posted by Nelson at 9:51 AM on March 30, 2020 [2 favorites]

'Chinese-looking' Indians targeted in racist attacks
Facial features of people from northeastern India can look similar to a Han Chinese appearance. Victims of attacks say looking Chinese has caused them to be physically attacked, and abused on social media.
In addition to name-calling, being spat on, and denied entry to shops
Rinzin Dorjee and his daughter, Tsering Yangzom, were denied entry into their apartment complex on March 16. The building's administration claimed they had been infected with coronavirus.

"We showed them [medical] documents, but the guards did not listen to us," Yangzom told DW.
posted by XMLicious at 2:42 PM on March 30, 2020 [1 favorite]

And, karma, karma is going to be a royal bitch about this.

Karma's dead
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:03 PM on April 7, 2020

Stop the coronavirus stigma now (Editorial, Nature Mag)
The pandemic is fuelling deplorable racism and discrimination, especially against Asian people. Education and research will also pay the price.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:52 AM on April 8, 2020

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