Comedian Bill Maher took aim Friday at the people crying “racism” over the use of terms like “Wuhan coronavirus” or “Chinese coronavirus.”
“Can’t we even have a pandemic without getting offended?” Maher complained. (RELATED: Bill Maher On Avoiding Second Civil War: ‘We Are Going To Have To Learn To Live With Each Other Or There Will Be Blood’)
Maher argued that scientists had been naming viruses — such as Ebola, Zika, West Nile and MERS — after their places of origin for decades, so there was no reason that China should get preferential treatment.
The comedian then went on to mock Democratic California Rep. Ted Lieu for a tweet from early March claiming that referring to the coronavirus as Wuhan or Chinese was no less ridiculous than calling 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 because the virus didn’t come from Milan,” Maher shot back. “And if it did, I guarantee we’d be calling it the Milan Virus. 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 went on to say that what was truly scary to him was that there were people out there who “would rather die from the virus than call it by the wrong name.”
He noted the fact that the wet markets, which have been criticized by experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and named as a possible source for coronavirus, were reopening in China despite warnings from as far back as 2013 that they could be a breeding ground for the next pandemic.
“It’s not racist to point out that eating bats is batshit crazy,” Maher continued, adding, “In 2007, researchers at the University of Hong Kong wrote, ‘The presence of a large reservoir of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats, together with the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China, is a time bomb.'”
Maher’s conclusion was simple — to those who worried that people might hear the phrase “Chinese virus” and blame China, he said only this: “The answer is we should blame China. Not Chinese Americans. But we can’t stop telling the truth because racists get the wrong idea … We can’t afford the luxury anymore of non-judginess towards a country with habits that kill millions of people.”