HBO’s Bill Maher has come under fire for saying it should be okay to call coronavirus the “Chinese virus.”
On Friday’s episode of “Real Time With Bill Maher,” the host went on a tirade about why he thinks it’s more scientifically accurate to name diseases based on where they originate.
“New rule: You can’t yell at someone for breaking a rule you just made up. Scientists, who are generally pretty liberal, have been naming diseases after the places they came from for a very long time. Zika is from the Zika Forest, Ebola from the Ebola River, hantavirus the Hantan River. There’s the West Nile virus and Guinea worm and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and, of course, the Spanish flu. MERS stands for Middle East respiratory syndrome. It’s plastered all over airports, and no one blogs about it. So why should China get a pass?” he said.
The controversy over how people should refer to COVID-19 grew when President Trump stood by calling it the “Chinese virus” in late March. He later changed his decision on the name after a public uproar saying it was harmful toward Asian Americans, who have experienced an increase in racist attacks since the virus’ spread.
“Jesus f—ing Christ. Can’t we even have a pandemic without getting offended? When they named Lyme disease after a town in Connecticut, the locals didn’t get all ticked off?” Maher added. “Seriously, it scares me that there are people out there who would rather die from the virus than call it by the wrong name. This isn’t about vilifying a culture. This is about facts.”
Maher has previously downplayed the devastating effects of the deadly coronavirus. Last month, he made similarly controversial statements on air.
“I’m sick of the virus — but not from the virus. At this point, I just f—ing want to get it so we don’t have to talk about it or worry about touching my face anymore,” he said. “People die. That’s what happens in life…Y2K was going to end the world and the fires in Kuwait were going to end the world and the BP oil spill was going to end the world, and every other f—ing flu we’ve ever had. And it didn’t.”