Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) claimed on Tuesday night that people who are avoiding going to Chinese and Asian restaurants right now are racist because they are fearful of contracting the coronavirus.
“Honestly, it sounds almost so silly to say, but there’s a lot of restaurants that are feeling the pain of racism,” Ocasio-Cortez said during an Instagram Live video. “Where people are literally not patroning Chinese restaurants, uh, they’re not patroning Asian restaurants because of just straight up racism around the coronavirus.”
Ocasio-Cortez says people are not eating at Chinese and Asian restaurants right now because they are "just straight up" racist about the coronavirus pic.twitter.com/egtpRDEDhO
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 11, 2020
Far-left journalists and Democrat politicians have claimed that calling the coronavirus by a name that denotes its place of origin, China, is racist.
But, as the American Council on Science and Health reported on Monday, “historically, microbiologists named new diseases after locations, animals or people”:
Historically, microbiologists named new diseases after locations, animals or people. To this day, flu strains are named after the city in which they were first isolated.
There’s another problem with accusing the name “Wuhan virus” of being racist. All influenza strains are named after the location in which they were first isolated.
This isn’t done because of racism. It’s done because it helps epidemiologists track the viruses. Once again, things could get awfully confusing if influenza strains were named “Flu #3296” and “Flu #9114.”
As usual, America’s pathological obsession with racism misfires again.
Numerous diseases are named after their place of origin, including places within the United States.
“In 1968, 150 students at Bronson Elementary School in Norwalk, Ohio, became very sick with vomiting and diarrhea. It took researchers four years and many stool samples to determine that the culprit was what at the time was called, alternately, ‘winter sickness,’ ‘winter vomiting bug,’ or stomach flu,” Stat reported. “Once investigators isolated and identified the virus that caused the outbreak of Norwalk, the city’s name became the virus’s name. As similar viruses sickened others in subsequent years, doctors began using the norovirus as an umbrella term for the Norwalk virus and its cousins.”
Other examples include:
- Guinea Worm; named after the Guinea coast of West Africa.
- West Nile Virus; named after the river in Africa.
- Ross River Fever; named after a river in Australia.
- MERS; stands for Middle East respiratory syndrome.
- Ebola; named for a river in Africa.
- Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever; named after Omsk, Russia.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, named after a mountain range in the U.S.
- Lyme Disease; named after a town in Connecticut.
Some political commentators have noted that one of the reasons that the political Left does not want the coronavirus to be called something that identifies that it came from China is that it limits their ability to politicize anything bad that happens in the U.S. and use it as a weapon to attack President Donald Trump.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has sought in recent years to not name diseases after places and to use “neutral terms.” Science Magazine reported that the WHO’s new methodology is not necessarily a good thing:
Many scientists agree that disease names can be problematic, but they aren’t sure the new rulebook is necessarily an improvement. “It will certainly lead to boring names and a lot of confusion,” predicts Linfa Wang, an expert on emerging infectious diseases at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong. “You should not take political correctness so far that in the end no one is able to distinguish these diseases,” says Christian Drosten, a virologist at the University of Bonn, Germany.
Furthermore, those who propagate the false claim that identifying that the coronavirus by its geographic origin is racist are helping promote propaganda from communist China. Investigative reporter Jordan Schachtel reported:
On Feb. 24, the state-controlled China Daily proclaimed that identifying the latest coronavirus as the Wuhan virus or other terms referring to its Chinese origin is “racist, discriminatory, and distasteful.”
On Feb. 16, the state-controlled Global Times published a piece declaring that critiques of China’s negligence concerning the Wuhan virus, such as the labeling of China as a “disease incubator,” is a clear sign of “xenophobia” and “racism” against China.
In early February, Communist Party authorities expressed outrage at a Der Spiegel article that described the coronavirus as “Made in China.” Beijing called the news report “racist” and a clear example of “discrimination and xenophobia.”