WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has issued an executive order banning the use of terms such as “China virus” and “Wuhan virus” when referring to COVID-19.
The order applies to federal agencies and public health documents and resources.
Former President Donald Trump routinely called COVID the “China virus” or and other conservatives linked it to Wuhan, China where the virus is thought to have originated in a government lab. Trump blamed China for the global coronavirus pandemic.
Biden’s order directly focuses on COVID-19, references to its origins and potential discrimination and stigmas placed on 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 Biden order instructs federal agencies to take appropriate action to scrub and edit references to the virus’ origins.
“Executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that official actions, documents, and statements, including those that pertain to the COVID-19 pandemic, do not exhibit or contribute to racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” the Biden order reads.