Flat White

Don’t mention the pandemic

14 February 2020

5:00 PM

14 February 2020

5:00 PM

The Woke Health Organisation – sorry, the World Health Organisation – continues to provide non-stop entertainment as the Coronavirus spreads. I don’t know if laughter is the best medicine but the WHO head honcho appears firmly convinced:

The World Health Organisation director-general has announced a new name for the fast-spreading coronavirus, as a senior WHO team visits Beijing on a crucial fact-finding mission.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a former health and foreign minister in the Ethiopian government, has gone to great effort to maintain a good relationship with China, as he oversees the global response to the virus — now officially named Covid-19 — which has killed more than 1100 people…

The announcement of the new name — a blend of “corona”, “virus”, “disease” and 2019 representing the year it emerged — will remove one topic from their agenda during the WHO team’s meetings.

China’s state-controlled media this week urged the WHO to give the virus a new name “as soon as possible to avoid further stigmatisation of Chinese people”.

In a story in the China Daily newspaper, a Beijing virologist was quoted as saying a new name was needed because people kept calling the disease “Wuhan coronavirus” or “Wuhan pneumonia”.

“These stigmatising names are becoming an excuse, and in some cases a political pretext, to justify mistreating the Chinese people and rallying anti-China supporters,” the doctor said.

There have indeed been incidents around the world of idiots attacking or abusing random Asian people over Coronavirus, oops, Covid-19, but the fact remains the disease will remain associated with China because it had started in China and the overwhelming majority of those who were infected and those who died are in China. Changing the name of the virus will not change the reality, particularly since the original name had nothing to do with China in the first place. One could argue that the Mexican beer producers are the ones who should really feel sore about being unfairly stigmatised.

Ten days before, Tedros was in arms again, as always more concerned about public diplomacy than world health:

Having once again earlier denied that the novel coronavirus is a ‘pandemic’, saying instead that it’s an epidemic with “multiple foci,” and with people dropping down dead on the streets in China (and being forced into ambulances), WHO Director-General Tedros reiterated his previous stunning praise for China’s “forceful measures” to halt the spread of the virus…

Additionally, Tedros appeared to blast the rest of the world, advising countries NOT to impose travel or trade restrictions on China, saying that such measures can cause “fear and stigma.”


Well, we couldn’t have that, could we? We all know that if there is one thing worse than mass deaths, it’s fear and stigma.

The problem with virtually all international organisations is that because “all states are equal”, there is no quality control and the odds are good that sooner or later clowns will get to run the show. Hence we now have the World Health Organisation that is more concerned about perceived racism than about protecting the world population from deadly diseases. If Tedros was alive a hundred years ago he would be firing angry press statements trying to stop people calling it the Spanish Flu, as tens of millions kept dropping like flies. And don’t even think of the Black Death. You can’t get a more racist name than that.

Once again, it’s so comforting to know that the people in charge have the right priorities at heart.

Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk, where this piece also appears.

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