Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), once of the Members of Congress currently under self-quarantine after encountering a CPAC attendee infected with coronavirus, set off a firestorm on social media late Sunday night, after referring to “coronavirus” by an earlier name for the disease, “Wuhan Virus.”
Reporters from MSNBC and representatives of various social justice organizations — dedicated leftists all — immediately jumped on Gosar, claiming that the term “Wuhan Virus” is “racist” and evidence of Gosar’s “anti-Asian bias.”
“I am announcing that I, along with 3 of my senior staff, are officially under self-quarantine after sustained contact at CPAC with a person who has since been hospitalized with the Wuhan Virus. My office will be closed for the week,” Gosar posted on Twitter Sunday.
Moments later, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes snapped back at the Congressman: “Just astoundingly gross to call it the Wuhan Virus.”
Hayes didn’t elaborate on why calling coronavirus “Wuhan virus” was “astoundingly gross,” but one of his colleagues at MSNBC, David Gura, quickly filled in the blanks.
“FYI,” Gura tweeted. “Calling #COVID19 the ‘Wuhan Virus’ is racist.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) also got in on the action, tweeting that “Wuhan Virus” is “an example of the myopia that allowed it to spread” and that Gosar was actively contributing to misinformation about the disease.
The leftist organization Sleeping Giants even made fun of Gosar for potentially falling victim to the disease: “Hope you’re okay, but perhaps while you’re quarantined, you will realize how astoundingly xenophobic it is to call it the Wuhan Virus.”
“Wuhan virus” is, of course, a reference to the city where the global outbreak finds its source and where most of the infected remain: Wuhan, China. Ahead of the virus making headlines in the United States, it appears many Chinese and Asian-based news organizations once referred to the virus by a similar name, “Wuhan pneumonia.”
There are a handful of instances where American news outlets have used “Wuhan virus” to refer to the coronavirus. Most of those came back in January and early February, when the disease was new to American media. CNN referred to “Wuhan virus” in January, and The Wall Street Journal, which has since changed its headline, appears to have referred to coronavirus as “Wuhan virus” around the same time. The original title for the WSJ piece appears in the site’s URL.
In early February, when coronavirus began to take root in the United States, organizations and news outlets started to refer to the disease as “coronavirus” or, more specifically (and accurately) as COVID-19. The Asian American Journalists Association also submitted guidelines for reporting on coronavirus to most major news organizations at that time, cautioning against the use of the term “Wuhan virus,” according to NBC News.
Gosar defended himself against allegations of racism, noting that he’d simply referred to the disease by its city of origin. It’s “just astoundingly ignorant to have all major media refer to it as #WuhanVirus for months but somehow, today, you’ve decided that’s #racist,” he tweeted in a follow up to his original note.
“Ignore the snowflake Leftists who think everything is racist. It’s a virus. It doesn’t care about your race,” he added.
Plenty of Twitter users rushed to Gosar’s defense, too.
“The virus that’ll kill us all is stupidity,” tweeted Neontaster.