The world now needs true leaders, including the United States

Trump’s labeling COVID-19 a “Chinese virus” will only hurt the country

Sara Tuddenham

It’s times like this when the world needs leaders.

  Canada has one. Prime Minister Trudeau has been reassuring to his nation, offering guidance and help in these hard times. He’s been focused on keeping Canadians calm, despite the fact that his wife tested positive for Coronavirus.

  The United Kingdom has one. Queen Elizabeth II released a statement on the morning of March 19, saying that her and her family are ready to play their part. “At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal,” she wrote.

  I can’t say the same about America.

  Donald Trump has used harsh and discriminatory words throughout the outbreak. He has been referring to the Coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus,” yet claims it is not racist because the virus “comes from China.” It has been brought to his attention by critics multiple times that associating pandemics with an ethnic group can lead to discrimination, yet he has ignored these warnings and continues to use the term “Chinese Virus.”

  Trump and his administration have pinpointed the blame of the outbreak on China since the beginning, causing tension between US-China relations. Trump has asserted that the Chinese “probably would agree” with the term, even though Chinese officials have made it clear that they do not.

  He claims he’s using this term to combat a campaign in China that claimed the American military was the source of the outbreak. “I didn’t appreciate the fact that China was saying that our military gave it to them. I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma,” he said.

  Due to his administration’s actions and past comments on immigration and issues of race, Trump’s use of this term can’t help but be interpreted as xenophobic with a hint of racist undertones.

  By labeling the Coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus,” Trump is encouraging the myth that China is the cause of the virus. Asian-Americans have reported incidents of verbal and physical attacks due to the perception that they are the cause of the virus.

  Blaming the Chinese for this virus will only cause division. We need a united front to fight this pandemic, and ascribing the virus to one culture, ethnicity or country will only hinder this unification.