Why Call It – The Chinese Virus?

Why call it - the Chinese Virus?I’m way off subject today, but we’re all living through a bizarre time. Besides, nobody wants to read about early retirement right now. Everyone is busier with more important things like trying to stay sane with their kids in a lockdown. Normally, I try to avoid controversial topics because you can’t win. Some readers will get mad and never visit Retire by 40 again. However, I can’t stay silent this time. If I can convince just one person that you shouldn’t use “Chinese virus,” it’ll be worth it to me. While it might be accurate, we should think about who benefits from this label and what harm it can bring. Also, does calling it the Chinese virus help you in some way? Why don’t we call it the coronavirus like we’ve been doing for 3 months? Let’s talk about it a bit.

Dr. Fauci said he had never used the term “China virus.” Asked if he ever would, Fauci responded, “No.”

*Update – It looks like President Trump stopped using the term and tried to protect Asian Americans on 3/23/2020. Thank you!

Coronavirus Terms

Disease: (Coronavirus disease) COVID-19

Virus: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-Cov-2.) Some people call it the Chinese virus or the Wuhan virus.

In December 2019, the COVID-19 disease started in China then spread around the world. Most people called it the novel coronavirus when it first started. The WHO named it COVID-19 on February 11, 2020 in order to prevent unnecessary fear for some populations.

However, some politicians start calling it the Chinese virus recently. Why are they doing this?

Chinese virus

The word Corona is crossed out and replaced with “Chinese” in the presidential briefing note.

Geography

Some people said it’s fine to call it the Chinese virus because that’s where it originated. In the past, many diseases were named in relation to geography. For example, the “Spanish flu” hit Spain hard hence the nickname. That influenza strain didn’t originate in Spain, though.

The H1N1 flu originated in the US and Mexico. We don’t call it the “American” virus.

H1N1

Anyway, geography is not the reason some politicians are purposely saying – “Chinese” virus. IMO, they want to deflect the blame from their failure. Americans are dying and they refuse to take any responsibility. They want you to think it is 100% China’s fault that we’re sick and locked down.

China screwed up big time

Yes, China screwed up big time.

  • They suppressed the news. The world didn’t know about COVID-19 until weeks after the doctors tried to raise the alarm. The local government thought it was fake news. They suppressed the doctors in order to keep the people calm.
  • Their early response was woefully inadequate. They ignored the researchers and doctors and the virus spread throughout Wuhan as a result.
  • Many Chinese people believe wild animals such as the pangolin have medicinal purpose. There was a wild animal market in many Chinese cities. Scientists believe the coronavirus spread from animals to humans. Recently, the Chinese government banned the consumption of these wild animals. But it’s too late now.
  • Reportedly, there was a Chinese propaganda blaming the US for COVID-19. Come on, we all know this coronavirus started in Wuhan. This propaganda is not credible.
  • Etc…

The US government screwed up too

However, our leaders screwed up very badly, too.

  • The pandemic response team (the National Security Council’s global health security office) was dismantled in 2018.
  • There aren’t enough test kits. The first test kits didn’t work early on and it took too long to correct. Even now, we don’t have enough tests for everyone with symptoms. If we did more testings early on, we could have quarantined sick people and flatten the curve already.
  • We don’t have enough equipment to protect our health care workers and care for the wave of patients. Why didn’t we make masks, gowns, protective gear, and ventilators? We had 2 months of warning. Seems like all they did after a private briefing was to sell their stocks to escape the stock market crash. Well, at least 4 senators did.
  • Many of our leaders downplayed COVID-19 and blamed the media for blowing it out of proportion. Some call it a hoax and compare it to the flu. Even now, a lot of people still don’t take this disease seriously because their leaders told them COVID-19 isn’t a big deal.
  • Etc…

Deflect the blame

Blaming the left and the media didn’t work because COVID-19 is turning into an epic nightmare. Thousands of Americans are sick and hundreds are dead already. Schools are out, businesses are closed down, and millions of Americans are stuck at home. Now, they need to blame someone else to take the focus off their failure. That’s why the many politicians are using – “Chinese virus” recently.

Nobody cares

Why does it matter if you call it the coronavirus or the Chinese virus? It started in China and nobody really cares what it’s called, right?

chinese flue

No, this is harmful to anyone who looks remotely Asian. Asian Americans are experiencing suspicion and harassment all across the US. Let’s face it; most Americans don’t distinguish between Chinese, Japanese, Thai, or any other Asian countries. Most Asian Americans have never been to China so why should they face prejudice for the spread of COVID-19? Here is a good story about it on NPR – When Xenophobia Spreads Like A Virus. How would you feel if people give you dirty looks and yell racial epithets just because you look a certain way?  While this isn’t completely an Asian American problem, why exacerbate the situation?

People are afraid right now. If you keep telling that they’re screwed because of Chinese people, there will be more violence against the Asian looking population. I already read about one case in London – a student from Singapore was assaulted and I’m afraid there will be more. Why focus on the race? Let’s just come together and fix the problem.

Other stories

Who benefits?

This is going to be harmful. Why would you want to use the phrase, “Chinese virus?” How does it benefit you?

  • You feel better to have someone to blame.
  • It helps your politician cover up their failure and look better.
  • Geography. Everyone knows it comes from China. That’s redundant, we don’t need to keep saying it.

That’s all I can think of. Let me know if you have any reason to call it the Chinese virus. Do these benefits offset the harm to 21 million Asian Americans? Even if you don’t personally assault them verbally or physically, you’re contributing to the xenophobia. Every little drop counts. You never know if your comment is the bit that bursts the dam in some person’s head.

It’s not worth it. Let’s just call it the coronavirus or COVID-19. That’s good enough. By now, everyone knows what you’re talking about.

Let’s get back to normal

Instead of fixating on blaming the Chinese, all of us should focus on flattening the curve by practicing social distancing. We need to help reduce the caseload for our healthcare providers. My brother is an ER physician with 3 little kids in the Bay Area and I’m very worried about them.

We are working remotely and we’re eliminating all non-essential trips. This is the only way to reduce COVID-19 caseload. Stay healthy everyone!

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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