A Rose by Any Other Name Still Has Thorns
In 1939, Hall of Fame baseball player Lou Gehrig came down with a degenerative muscular disease which took his life. Guess what that disease is often called? Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
In 1968, a virus broke out in Norwalk, Ohio, infecting 150 people. Guess what the name of that virus is? Norovirus.
In 1975, a bacterial infection spread by ticks originated in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Guess what the name of that disease is? Lyme Disease.
In 1976, many members of the American Legion became violently ill in a hotel in Philadelphia. Guess what the name of that disease is? Legionnaire’s Disease.
In 1976, a virus outbreak originated around the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Guess what the name of that virus is? Ebola Virus.
In 2012, a respiratory viral illness broke out in Saudi Arabia. Guess what the name of that disease is? MERS - Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
Has there been any objections to the names of these diseases before? No one saw those names as racist or discriminatory. But now calling a virus that originated in Wuhan, China, the “Wuhan Virus” is now racist.
If the virus started in Europe or America or Africa, and we called it the Chinese Virus, that would be racist. But it didn’t originate in those other countries. It originated in China. As did 4 other major pandemics in the last 50 years which killed over 3 million people; H2N2-(Asian Flu), H3N2-(Hong Kong Flu), SARS, Bird Flu.
When did honesty and accuracy become racist? And when did lying and obfuscation become tolerance?
For years, H1N1 was called the “Swine Flu” until it was discovered that a virus not related to pigs spread the flu. I haven’t heard apologies to Babe, Miss Piggie or Peppa.
In 1918, the “Spanish Flu” ravaged the world killing millions of people, but the virus did not originate in Spain. America, China, England and France have all been suspected by scientists as the country of origin. So why is it called the “Spanish Flu”? In 1918, during World War 1, Spain was one of the few European neutral countries. So, unlike the wartime countries who censored news of the flu so as to not hurt morale in their countries, Spain maintained a free press, and the devastating effects of the flu were reported freely. The other nations could only get news of the virus through media reports out of Spain, so most people wrongly assumed that Spain was the country of origin. And to this day, many people still call it the “Spanish Flu”, and no accusations of racism is charged.
So not to call a virus that originated in Wuhan, China the Chinese Virus or Wuhan Virus in an attempt to scrub the name and origin of this virus for fear of being called a racist is both hypocritical, and very dangerous. It is vitally important to understand the place of origin of this virus, and others to help us prevent future outbreaks. So being honest about the virus’ place of origin, will help identify a cluster of outbreaks which in turn will help us understand why the outbreak started, so steps can be taken to rectify the issues to prevent further outbreaks.
But in 2019, a worldwide pandemic broke out, the virus originated in the Wuhan province of China. Guess what New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calls that virus? The European Virus.
And the Wuhan wet markets have been reopened and wild bats are still being sold.