In COVID-19 Crisis, We Need Facts, Not Racial Division

Statement by Ken Kimmell, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Apr 15, 2020

WASHINGTON (April 15, 2020)—The COVID-19 pandemic is a tragic worldwide phenomenon. Unfortunately, political leaders—including President Donald Trump—have sought to place blame and incite racial division by referring to the novel coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan” virus, contrary to guidance from public health experts. That’s a misleading distraction—and a tactic that has already put Asian Americans at heightened risk of harassment and violence.

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“To defeat this devastating pandemic, we need our leaders to deliver clear, reliable and actionable information, and we need to build trust and solidarity among communities across the country. None of those objectives are advanced when our leaders use terms like ‘the Chinese virus’ to scapegoat and shift blame.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately hurting communities of color, reflecting deep racial inequities. The last thing we need is for this pandemic to lead to more xenophobia and racial division. We’ve already seen violence and abuse directed at Asian Americans in the wake of this pandemic. Our leaders must combat racism and discrimination. We deserve the truth from our government, and that extends to using accurate terminology for COVID-19.”