Soon after Joe Biden sworn in as President of United States, have issued an executive Presidential order to ban the usage of terms like Chinese Virus or Wuhan Virus although technically the virus originated from China. Biden’s order directly intended, focusing on COVID-19, its references on its origination and a potential discrimination on Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

 

“The Federal Government must recognize that it has played a role in furthering these xenophobic sentiments through the actions of political leaders, including references to the COVID-19 pandemic by the geographic location of its origin,” Biden said in the order. “Such statements have stoked unfounded fears and perpetuated stigma about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and have contributed to increasing rates of bullying, harassment, and hate crimes against AAPI persons.” 

 

The executive order directs the federal agencies and government departments to take actions on usage of virus terminology. It’s clear that the objective of the Executive order is to ensure all federal government documents, statements, and other usage of terminology pertaining the virus must not exhibit the racism, discrimination against Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 

Although the Executive order tried to put a cap on discrimination and racism against people of specific community, the real question is whether this order is really practiced when it comes to the COVID-19 variants. Since the first wave, there are few variants that emerged in various countries after the virus mutation. The first mutation was widely called as UK variant, then South African variant, Brazil. variant, Indian double variant. These variants were geo tagged with country name, although WHO has named these variants with a scientific term like B117, P1, B.1.617; the media and other organizations started naming the variants using the country name. Interestingly, the same media which vehemently opposed calling the Chinese Virus as racist and discriminatory, are now calling the mutant variants with country name. This is so hypocritic on their part with a selective reporting. 

 

Interestingly, even WHO has not opposed in naming the country by variant while it opposed naming the Chinese virus. It makes livid and careless when the world is calling the mutations with country name. As the COVID-19 was on its heights in last summer in US, the elite institutes like Yale school of medicine condemned calling the virus as Chinese Virus but unfortunately the same Yale school of medicine remained mum when media is reporting it with country name. Isn’t it too selective and racist on their part? It is the responsibility of WHO and the responsible media who was eloquent about the nomenclature must practice on what they preach.

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