Responding to a previous letter printed in the paper ... To call COVID-19 the “China Virus” is not the same as the various flus from the past. Simply put, this virus is not a flu. Although symptoms are similar and spread by contact, the similarities stop there. COVID spreads slower than the flu, secondary infections are far more common in COVID than any variant of Influenza, and the mortality rate for COVID is higher than the flu.

Taking into consideration of the naming process for flu outbreaks, it is usually determined by which location had the worst outbreak, or through which animal it is most commonly found in (Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Horse Flu, etc.). For things like West Nile Virus (a fever-related illness), it is spread through mosquitoes or contact with bodily fluids. However, with viruses, it is named after its genetic structure.

If this doesn’t fully answer as to why calling COVID-19 the “China Virus” is wrong and ignorant, then we must mention former President Trump’s lack of action to stop the spread of the virus in the U.S. Due to the disbandment of the pandemic response team in 2018, America was not prepared for this outbreak. Instead of the proper leadership we needed during this crisis, Trump openly disregarded the science  and downplayed its seriousness by calling it names like “Kung Flu” at a rally last summer in Tulsa. 

It isn’t just the name calling that makes this a problem, but also the conspiracy theories about COVID-19 that Trump tried to spread while speaking about the pandemic, as well as how he pushed as much blame onto China as possible. THAT is why it is hateful to call COVID-19 the “China Virus.”

Owen Westerholt