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Scientific Journal Apologizes For ‘Erroneously’ Associating Coronavirus With China
Government workers wearing face masks walk inside a field hospital that had offered beds for COVID-19 coronavirus patients during the height of the crisis in Wuhan in Chinas central Hubei province on April 9, 2020. - Thousands of relieved citizens streamed out of China's Wuhan on April 8 after authorities lifted months of lockdown at the coronavirus epicentre, offering some hope to the world despite record deaths in Europe and the United States. (Photo by Noel Celis/AFP)
NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images

The British scientific journal Nature apologized for stoking racism by connecting the COVID-19 outbreak to China, where the virus originated.

Nature published an editorial on Tuesday apologizing for making the association against guidelines made by the World Health Organization for reporting on diseases. The journal said that the pandemic’s association with China has led to “untold human costs” against people of Asian descent.

By naming the disease simply COVID-19, the WHO “was implicitly sending a reminder to those who had erroneously been associating the virus with Wuhan and with China in their news coverage – including Nature. That we did so was an error on our part, for which we take responsibility and apologize,” Nature wrote.

WHO guidelines published in 2015 said that new diseases should not be named after a region or country, a specific person, group of people, or type of animal. The U.N. health agency listed “examples to be avoided” such as Middle East respiratory syndrome, Chagas disease, and swine flu.

“History tells us that pandemics lead to communities being stigmatized, which is why we all need to exercise more care,” Nature continued. “Failing to do so has consequences. It’s clear that since the outbreak was first reported, people of Asian descent around the world have been subjected to racist attacks, with untold human costs — for example, on their health and livelihoods.”

The journal slammed world leaders, such as President Trump, who have pointed out the coronavirus’s origin in order to put pressure on the Chinese Communist Party to conform to modern health standards in the developed world and shut down the country’s wet markets. The editorial called the tactic an “outdated script.”

U.S. intelligence officials say Chinese authorities are misreporting the impact of the coronavirus and that its number of infections and deaths from the pathogen are much higher than what the CCP has claimed. In the weeks after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Wuhan, Chinese officials acted slowly and focused more on snuffing out news of the virus than stopping the spread of the pathogen itself.

A global backlash is mounting against China even as countries focus on slowing the spread of the coronavirus inside their borders. Japan has set aside the equivalent of $2 billion to pay companies to move their manufacturing plants out of China.

In the United States, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) are pushing legislation that would pressure pharmaceutical companies to source ingredients and medicines from outside of China if they want to their products covered under federal programs such as Medicaid.

“Things like antibiotics and ibuprofen and Advil are made in China for the most part. It’s time to bring that manufacturing capacity back to the United States, time to bring a lot more back to the United States from China. China unleashed this plague on the world, and there will be a reckoning when we’re on the back side of it,” Cotton said in a March 25 Fox News interview.

Trump on Tuesday threatened to withdraw U.S. funding for the WHO over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. The president said the U.N. agency has been “very China-centric” and blamed it for warning countries about the pathogen sooner.

“We want to look at the World Health Organization, because they really are — they called it wrong. They called it wrong. They missed the call. They could have called it months earlier, they would have known. And they should have known. And they probably did know,” Trump said.

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