Speaking notes show Trump stance on pointing to 'Chinese' origin of new coronavirus

World | 26 Mar 2020 10:05 am

A photo of US President Donal Trump's notes during Thursday's coronavirus task force briefing shows "Corona" crossed out and replaced with "Chinese," a label he continues to use despite criticism that it encourages anti-Asian sentiment, Fox News reports.

Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford tweeted a photo of the notes, which said "Chinese virus" instead of the widely used coronavirus to describe the sickness caused by the new coronavirus.

“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,” Botsford said.

Trump and some lawmakers have come under intense criticism for referring to the pandemic as the Chinese virus or Wuhan virus. The illness is linked to an animal market in Wuhan, China, and has claimed the lives of more than 3,200 people in China and has spread to almost every country around the world.

As of Thursday, more than 9,800 people have died and over 242,000 have been sickened worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Trump has repeatedly defended the term and pushed back on criticism that it's racist.

"No, not at all," Trump said during a Wednesday press conference. "I think they probably would agree with it, 100 percent. It comes from China.''

The Chinese government and some Democrats have tried pressuring Trump and other lawmakers to stop using the term. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, recently defended himself after tweeting about the "Chinese coronavirus" last week.

Health officials have also warned against calling the illness the Chinese virus or the Wuhan virus, saying it could lead to racial profiling.

“Viruses know no borders and they don’t care about your ethnicity, the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank," said Dr. Mike Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization's emergency service program. "So it’s really important we be careful in the language we use lest it lead to the profiling of individuals associated with the virus."


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