Tying the virus more closely to China

Rich Lowry of National Review Online ponders the name of the virus that’s causing worldwide concern.

The coronavirus outbreak is the first pandemic of the woke era, and as such, it isn’t surprising that there is a fierce debate over how to refer to it without offending against social justice.

Representative Paul Gosar, an Arizona ­Republican, lost whatever sympathy he would have garnered in certain quarters over his self-quarantine when he called it “the Wuhan virus,” a perfectly appropriate name that has been deemed grotesque and unacceptable.

Wuhan is in China, a non-Western country, and people of color live there, so QED, calling the virus by the name of that city must be racist.

Luminaries across the Left denounced Gosar. They accused him of bringing what is technically the SARS-CoV-2 virus to our shores by misnaming it.

Representative Ted Lieu (D., Calif.) slammed the Republican lawmaker’s reference to the Wuhan virus as “an example of the myopia that allowed it to spread in the U.S. The virus is not constrained by country or race.” …

… Nonetheless, the virus first ­became known in Wuhan, in cases clustered around a wildlife market, and the locked-down city has remained the epicenter of the Chinese epidemic ever since. As of mid-February, the Wuhan area accounted for 86 percent of all the cases in China.

Naturally enough, the virus is associated with Wuhan, and indeed has commonly been referred to as “the Wuhan virus” in the press (at least prior to the World Health Organization’s formally naming the virus and the disease).

Naming a virus after the location of the outbreak that first brought it to attention is hardly unusual.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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