CNN in January used the terms “Chinese coronavirus” and “Wuhan coronavirus” to reference the virus wreaking havoc on the globe — a detail largely ignored by several political pundits and reporters who are taking issue with President Trump using similar terminology.
Trump came under fire on Tuesday after using the term “Chinese Virus,” with critics immediately labeling his descriptor “racist.”
“I have to call it where it came from, it did come from China, so I think it’s a very accurate term,” he told reporters on Tuesday, adding that “China was putting out information which was false, that our military gave this to them, that was false.”
The president said he did not believe it created an unfair “stigma,” adding, “I think that saying our military gave it to them creates a stigma.”
Despite that, Trump’s critics have zeroed in on the narrative that referring to the virus as “Chinese,” is racist. His failed opponent, Hillary Clinton, even accused the president of using “racist rhetoric.” However, several establishment outlets have used the very descriptor they are shellacking the president over, including CNN.
“A new Chinese coronavirus, a cousin of the SARS virus, has infected more than 200 people since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December,” CNN tweeted in January. “Scientist Leo Poon, who first decoded the virus, thinks it likely started in an animal and spread to humans”:
A new Chinese coronavirus, a cousin of the SARS virus, has infected more than 200 people since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December. Scientist Leo Poon, who first decoded the virus, thinks it likely started in an animal and spread to humans. https://t.co/mnZKFC5ZDW
— CNN (@CNN) January 21, 2020
The article itself contained a similar lede:
(CNN)A new Chinese coronavirus, a cousin of the SARS virus, has infected hundreds since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December. Scientist Leo Poon, who first decoded the virus, thinks it likely started in an animal and spread to humans.
What is more, CNN’s article also refers to the virus as the “Wuhan coronavirus” eight times — another descriptor that several of Trump’s critics have deemed a “racist” term.
It’s not clear how deadly the Wuhan coronavirus will be, but fatality rates are currently lower than both MERS and SARS. Experts stress that it will change as the outbreak develops.
The Wuhan coronavirus is currently thought to be more mild than SARS and MERS and takes longer to develop symptoms.
Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed for the Wuhan coronavirus, but experts are now trying to understand who is transmitting it most, who is at most risk and whether transmission is occurring mostly in hospitals or in the community.
MERS, SARS and the Wuhan coronavirus appear to cause more severe disease in older people, though uncertainty remains around the latest outbreak. Of the cases of Wuhan coronavirus reported so far, none are yet confirmed to be among children, Horby said.
Should you worry about the Wuhan coronavirus?
The Wuhan coronavirus fatality rate is lower than for SARS and MERS, but still comparable to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, explains Neil Ferguson, professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London.
Awareness is key. If you are sick and have reason to believe it may be the Wuhan coronavirus due to travel to the region or coming into contact with someone who has been there, you should let a health care provider know and seek treatment early.
CNN is not the only outlet that has used the terms, which several progressives now deem “offensive.”
Breitbart News previously reported a partial list:
The Washington Post:
The Los Angeles Times:
Trump again defended his use of the term “Chinese virus” on Wednesday.
“Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus?” ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega asked.
“Why do you keep using this?” she pressed. “A lot of people say it’s racist.”
“It’s not racist at all. No, it comes from China – that’s why I want to be accurate,” Trump said.