Comedian and talk show host Bill Maher posted a video on Friday in which he said people should be blaming China for coronavirus and naming the virus after China since it originated there.
The “Real Time” host shared his take on whether or not to refer to the coronavirus as the “Chinese coronavirus” since it originated in China. Maher said naming the virus after China was factual, just as other illnesses are referred to by their geographic place of origin.
“Zika is from the Zika Forest, Ebola from the Ebola River, Hantavirus from the Hantan River. There’s the West Nile Virus and Guinea Worm and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and of course, the Spanish Flu,” Maher said. “MERS, stands for Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. It’s plastered all over airports and no one blogs about it, so why should China get a pass?”
Maher went on to criticize Democratic California Rep. Ted Lieu for a tweet suggesting that, because the virus has spread beyond China it is “not constrained by country or race” and that it would be “just as stupid to call it the Milan Virus.”
Dear @DrPaulGosar: I will pray for you, your staff & the person hospitalized.
Also, calling #COVIDー19 the Wuhan Virus is an example of the myopia that allowed it to spread in the US. The virus is not constrained by country or race. Be just as stupid to call it the Milan Virus. https://t.co/of91p65mIO
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 9, 2020
“No that would be way stupider,” Maher responded, “because it didn’t come from Milan and if it did, I guarantee we would be calling it the Milan Virus.”
“It scares me that there are people out there who would rather die from the virus than call it by the wrong. This isn’t about vilifying a culture, this is about facts,” Maher added. It’s about life and death. We’re barely four months into this pandemic and the wet markets in China, the ones were exotic animals are sold and consumed are already starting to reopen.”
“The PC police say its racist to attack any cultural practice that’s different our own. I say liberalism lost its way when it started thinking like that and pretended that forcing a woman to wear this,” he said, while displaying an image of a burqa, “was just a different way, instead of an abhorrent human rights violation. It’s not racist to point out that eating bats is batshit crazy.”
Maher went on to address concerns about whether calling the coronavirus the “Chinese Virus” would cast unfair blame on Asian people. He said people should blame China, but understand the distinction between China as a country and a government and those of Chinese descent.
“Sorry, Americans. We’re going to have to ask you to keep two ideas in your head at the same time: This has nothing to do with Asian Americans, and it has everything to do with China,” Maher concluded. “We can’t afford the luxury anymore of nonjudginess towards a country with habits that kill millions of people everywhere because this isn’t the first time. SARS came from China and the bird flu and the Hong Kong flu, the Asian flu. Viruses come from China just like shortstops come from the Dominican Republic. If they were selling nuclear suitcases at these wet markets, would we be so nonjudgmental?”
Maher briefly touched on some allegations that the virus may have even been a Chinese bioweapon. He said, “If the Chinese military had purposefully infected this country with corona as a bioweapon, we’d be at war with them.”
Maher’s critical remarks come weeks after President Donald Trump responded to criticism for his repeated references to the coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus.” At the time, Trump defended his references as both geographically and an appropriate reaction after Chinese officials began insinuating that the U.S. Army actually originated the virus.