I’m writing to provide an alternative to the March 20 opinion article by Ben Shapiro regarding the controversy over the president’s labeling the COVID-19 as the Chinese virus. Shapiro charges that those who object to Trump’s use of the label in a time of pandemic shows their “utter unseriousness,” and that the term is controversial at all is “nearly beyond belief.” Let’s be fair. Research shows the first case of a coronavirus was found in Saudi Arabia in 2012, and it was called the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus. Since then, and through 2015, sporadic cases, small clusters and large outbreaks have been reported in 24 countries, including America. The current COVID-19 may have originated in China, but it’s not a Chinese disease. The Centers for Disease Control has known of these viruses for many years.

Let’s be correct. Labeling this a Chinese virus is racist. For Donald Trump to claim “China is at fault” translates to “Asians are at fault.” However, this is typical of the president who always has to blame someone or something. The term is highly controversial and should be rejected by any reasonable person as an attempt to racially brand a global disease and distract from his administration’s incompetence and unpreparedness.

Ironically, it wasn’t too long ago the Republican Party was calling this a hoax to embarrass the president and steal the election for Democrats. It seems reality has set in. It also appears some of the steps taken by the Chinese government to curtail the spread of the virus have been successful. Instead of continually patting himself on the back, claiming everything is fantastic and blaming others Trump might find some humility in the success of others. I won’t hold my breath.

Bob Willison

Rices Landing