While quite a few netizens have balked at US President Donald Trump repeatedly describing the COVID-19 coronavirus as a "Chinese virus" in his tweets, it seems that now Hollywood actress and activist Alyssa Milano, a vocal critic of the US head of state, has also got involved in the argument.
Stepping forth to challenge Trump on what seems to be his favorite social media platform, Alyssa openly called him a "racist piece of sh*t" and urged him to stop referring to the pathogen as "Chinese virus".
Her tweet evoked a mixed reaction among the social media crowd, as a number of people claimed that that the definition used by the president was pretty apt.
The virus came from China! You live in a Mickey Mouse world.— Corinne Tavolacci (@corinnetav1) March 19, 2020
It started in China sorry. Sorry— john sobush (@ssgtsob) March 18, 2020
Some also jokingly discussed a possible different name for the disease - "Kung Flu".
Agree is the “Kung Flu” get it right. We are all Kung Flu fighting.— Copperhead Diesel (@AARunner57) March 18, 2020
One of his staff called it The Kung-Flu today.— Ibrahim (@ialhusseini) March 18, 2020
A number of people argued that the “racist” bit in Alyssa's tweet was unwarranted.
China is a country. Not a race.— Vance Murphy (@vancemurphy) March 18, 2020
China isn't a race— Kenny G (@DJKS3) March 18, 2020
And yet there were also those who seemed to side with Milano against Trump.
Trump is the incompetence virus, Moronovirus-45.— Trent Capelli 🇨🇦 (@TrentCapelli) March 18, 2020
After we're done with #COVID19, we're going to get the infection removed from the White House.— ProLib Official (@lib_fan) March 18, 2020
This week, Trump insisted that he started calling COVID-19 the "Chinese virus" due to the fact that he "didn't appreciate the fact that China was saying that our military gave it to them."
The president appeared to be referring to the statements made by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian who pointed to congressional testimony by CDC director Robert Redford regarding instances of COVID-19 among the deaths in the United States that were previously attributed to influenza.
"When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected?...It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent!" said Lijian.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's emergencies program, argued during a press conference on 18 March that "viruses know no borders and they don’t care about your ethnicity, the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank".
"So it’s really important we be careful in the language we use lest it lead to the profiling of individuals associated with the virus," he said as quoted by CNBC.