World should call it as ‘Wuhan Virus’ or ‘China Virus’ instead of Novel Corona or Covid-19 Virus - Here’s Why?
The outbreak of the virus from China’s Wuhan city resulted in this pandemic only because the Communist country did not acknowledge and share the information with the world. China should not be allowed to absolve itself of its irresponsible behavior that has killed thousands across the world and put millions of lives at risk.
-Dr. Chandra Shekhar Sharma
The world is overwhelmed. Diplomats are shocked at it’s rapid spread. Governments and Administration are striving hard to contain the spread of the virus. Medicos are toiling hard to treat the patients. The deadly virus has blurred the boundaries among nations, society, and polity, and forced everyone, from aam to khaas to contemplate over the very existence of human society.
Narendra Modi, PM of the world’s largest democracy, urged Indians to observe ‘Janta Curfew’, which connotes to self imposed isolation. But, this is not for self realization or spirituality rather for one’s own very survival. The term ‘very survival’ refers to worries, fear, anxiety and all the burden of being human. The only factor that is the cause for such misery is a deadly virus.
It is proven that the contemporary medical emergency worldwide originated in and inflicted upon the entire human race by China. The outbreak of the so-called novel coronavirus was from China’s Wuhan city. The mere outbreak resulted in a very dangerous pandemic only because China did not acknowledge and share the information with the world. It was the Communist China which hid the fact. Communist China has been enjoying its autocratic stance by the virtue of its iron-walled communication policy and economy. Time and again we hear various news about China’s oppressive actions but no nation dares to speak against China; may be because it enjoys membership of UNSC, Veto Power or heavy economic dominance due to mass supply at cheaper costs.
China had been successful in pressing the world in calling the virus by its species name ‘corona.’ It is nothing but a triumph of its foreign policy. China never wanted that the nomenclature of this virus should carry the name of the country or the province- Hubei or Wuhan, as this would tarnish its brand name. This may result in general reluctance to buy Chinese goods, which would create economic tensions. The cunning China has tried to save its brand image thereby accusing America for the pandemic. This resulted in a war of words between China and America, in which Trump sounded logical.
It is very usual that the names of the diseases and viruses are chosen so specifically that even a common man understands it easily and recognizes the general symptoms. In the past, many viruses, diseases and syndromes have been associated with the names of the places or terms of origin. Some of the commonly known are- Singapore Ear, Yellow fever, Spanish flu Mangolian Syndrome, Mongolian Spot, German measles, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile virus, Swine flu, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, SARS. If all such diseases can be associated with the places they originated in, why can’t Covid-19 be named as Wuhan Virus or China Virus?
Naming the current pandemic as China Virus or Wuhan Virus sounds sensible as there are other strains of Coronavirus which doctors and patients cannot differentiate. In such conditions a specific name shall help in clear understanding and decoding for a specific line of treatment.
Naming the Covid-19 as China Virus/Wuhan Virus will give a specific nomenclature thereby replacing the common identity given to it. Corona is a large family of viruses. It includes influenza virus, SARS, Swine-flu, bird-flu. In such conditions a specific name shall help in clear understanding and decoding. Any common man testing positive for Corona interprets that s/he is suffering from Covid-19, which is not true. Several such incidents have happened in recent times in India too where people voluntarily took tests for corona, and were dismayed to see they were positive; however it wasn’t the deadly Novel CoronaVirus but a variant of corona that caused influenza or other flu. The distress was a result of confusing nomenclature. Imagine a person in such critical times reading his test report stating ‘corona- positive’, lamenting and cursing his fate for death! In this age of IT where information and misinterpretation both are together at our finger tip, we need to be sensible towards others understanding. In such cases, naming China Virus or Wuhan Virus sounds sensible.
Another satirical incidence, but serious one too, happened with the famous antiseptic brand Dettol, whose liquid antiseptic bottles mentioned that it kills coronavirus. Within hours of this mistaken realization the social media flooded with the images of the rear of the bottles. Some people rushed to buy it thereby creating a shortage, while others blamed Dettol to be well aware of upcoming pandemic and took advantage of hiking mass sales. Later Dettol had to clarify it does kill coronavirus but not the variety with which the world is suffering. Such confusions demand a specific name.
Theories also tell that China hid the facts and figures until the situation became uncontrollable for it. This is a social crime. Let China and its coming generation remember the toll of negligence. China’s allegation on America about spreading the virus out of rivalry, has come out as an effort to escape responsibility. This administrative foul needs to be reprimanded not just by summoning the ambassador but by letting it know the fouls for the generation.
The scariest conspiracy theory that will chills down your spine says that the covid-19 is a man-made microorganism meant for bio-weapon. Believers of this theory say that China’s virology research institute was involved in developing this virus in a lab. The virus leaked out of the lab resulting in a pandemic. Though this theory is controversial yet it’s very influential among developing and developed nations. It says the virus did not exist before.
Dr Francis Boyle, the creator of Bio Weapons Act, claims that ‘the coronavirus is an offensive biological warfare weapon with genetic engineering DNA.’ Incidences like spying accusations on Chinese scientists in Canada, their ban on entering Canada’s National Microbiology Lab strengthen the suspicion. The supporters of this theory say that the exponential way in which the virus proliferated proves that it was a bio-weapon. If this is true, this is the world’s worst inhuman action. If China has done so, the strongest action can be naming the virus as ‘China Virus’ or ‘Wuhan Virus’.
Theories may be proven wrong but this is very true that China’s Wuhan has been the epicenter of this pandemic. A generic term won’t address the purpose of humanity. What is required is a specific name for a common interest.
US President Donald Trump sounds reasonable by calling the concerned virus the “Chinese Virus.” He is quite rational when he defends it, saying- “It is not racist at all….It comes from China, that’s why.” Further, if the term ‘Chinese’ sounds racist, let's assign a name “Wuhan virus” as the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it once.
(The author is a Associate Professor of English and writes on current affairs)