A photo shows President Donald Trump's Thursday press briefing notes replacing the word "coronavirus" with "Chinese virus.”
Close up of President @realDonaldTrump notes is seen where he crossed out "Corona" and replaced it with "Chinese" Virus as he speaks with his coronavirus task force today at the White House. #trump
— Jabin Botsford (@jabinbotsford) March 19, 2020
The coronavirus is reported to have originated in the Wuhan region of China, specifically in its Huanan seafood market, and the nicknaming of COVID-19 as the "Chinese virus" is considered racially offensive.
"It comes from China, that's why. I want to be accurate," Trump said of his adamancy in using the term during a press conference, The Hill reports.
Asian Americans have become victims of hate crimes because of the virus.
A subway passenger in Brooklyn sprayed an Asian man with air freshener for nearly 15 seconds over concerns for the coronavirus, NBC News reports. In New York City, Asian-owned restaurants and storefronts are facing racial bias due to misinformation about the coronavirus, CNN reports.
In a video, Fox News' Jesse Watters demanded an apology from Chinese people for spreading the coronavirus. In the clip, Watters referred to them as "the Chinese people" and said the virus originated from "very hungry" people who eat "raw bats and snakes," according to Mediaite.
Fox News' Jesse Watters claims that the coronavirus started because Chinese people "have these markets where they were eating raw bats and snakes" pic.twitter.com/Km5BK6Ax9c
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 2, 2020
Watters has a documented history of being racist toward Asians.
Two of Trump’s health advisers, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and head of the CDC Robert Redfield, and the World Health Organization (WHO) have criticized the president's use of "Chinese virus."
“This is a time for solidarity, this is a time for facts, this is a time to move forward together, to fight this virus together. There is no blame in this,” said Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s emergencies program.
Some people believe Trump's assertion of the term is intended to deflect his responsibilities in not preventing the disease's rapid spread in North America, as Blavity previously reported.
Initially, the president downplayed the significance of the coronavirus in the U.S. before finally declaring a national emergency. During a press conference on March 13, Trump was asked about his responsibility in disbanding the White House pandemic team as a cause for the outbreak.
Trump, however, denied responsibility and referred to the question as "nasty."