Ignoring the stigmatization being faced by the Asian community over the labeling of coronavirus as the “Chinese virus,” Bill Maher went on a rant defending the use of the term to describe COVID-19.
It’s a term that Donald Trump has repeatedly defended.
CNN reported: “After consulting with medical experts, and receiving guidance from the World Health Organization, CNN has determined that that name is both inaccurate and is considered stigmatizing. Trump claimed that he is using the term because China tried to blame the virus on US soldiers.”
Said Trump in mid-March: “‘Cause it comes from China. It’s not racist at all, no, not at all. It comes from China, that’s why. I want to be accurate. … I have great love for all of the people from our country, but as you know China tried to say at one point … that it was caused by American soldiers. That can’t happen. It’s not gonna happen, not as long as I’m President. It comes from China.”
“Scientists, who are generally pretty liberal, have been naming diseases after the places they came from for a very long time,” Maher began his New Rules segment. “Zika is from the Zika Forest. Ebola from the Ebola River. Hantavirus? The Hantan River. There’s the West Nile Virus, and Guinea Worm, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and of course the Spanish Flu. MERS stands for Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome…”
“So why should China get a pass?” Maher asked. “Congressman Ted Lieu tweeted, ‘The virus is not constrained by country or race. Be just as stupid to call it the Milan Virus.’ No, that would be way stupider because it didn’t come from Milan, and if it did, I guarantee it would be called the ‘Milan Virus.’ Jesus f**king Christ, can’t we even have a pandemic without getting offended?”
“When they named Lyme disease after a town in Connecticut, the locals didn’t get all ticked off,” Maher added.
“Seriously, it scares me that there are people out there who would rather die from the virus than call it by the wrong name,” the Real Time host continued. “This isn’t about vilifying a culture; this is about facts. This is about life and death. We’re barely four months into this pandemic and the wet markets in China — the ones where exotic animals are sold and consumed — are already starting to reopen.”
“It’s not racist to point out that eating bats is batshit crazy,” Maher spat.
Maher laid out more of his argument: “In 2007, researchers at the University of Hong Kong wrote: ‘The presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb.’ Dr. Fauci says we should force a global closure of the wet markets because the current crisis is a quote ‘direct result’ of them. On Monday, the UN’s acting head of biodiversity said the same thing.”
“So, when someone says, ‘What if people hear Chinese virus and blame China?’ the answer is we should blame China,” added Maher. “Not Chinese Americans, but we can’t stop telling the truth because racists get the wrong idea. There are always going to be idiots out there who want to indulge their prejudices.”
“This has nothing to do with Asian Americans, and it has everything to do with China,” he continued. “We can’t afford the luxury anymore of non-judginess towards a country with habits that kill millions of people everywhere. Because this isn’t the first time. SARS came from China, and the bird flu, and the Hong Kong flu, the Asian flu.”
“If they were selling nuclear suitcases at these wet markets would we be so non-judgmental? And isn’t this pretty close to what they are selling? And the next one could be even worse. If the Chinese military had purposefully infected this country with corona as a bioweapon, we’d be at war with them. We’re always griping about how China manipulates their currency. Well, I’m no monetary expert but I think you would agree this one hurt our economy a little more than the currency manipulation. And China can do this. China once built a 57-story skyscraper in 19 days.”
They’re not like us. They can actually get shit done. This is a dictatorship that for decades enforced a one child per family policy under penalty of forced sterilization. But you can’t close down the farmer’s market from hell? They need to use that iron fist and pound it down like the whole world depends on it, because it kind of does. And I hope that if someone told Americans that eating hot pockets could cause a worldwide pandemic that we would have the good sense to stop doing it. Although I wouldn’t bet on it.”
The only problem with calling the latest virus the Chinese Virus is who is using the term and why he’s doing it. Trump has no interest in resolving the sources of these diseases. He’s using the term to ignite the lowest of his supporters.— Keith Thompson (@ktpinnacle) April 11, 2020