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Bill Maher Says Coronavirus Should Be Called the ‘Chinese Virus': ‘We Should Blame China’ (Video)

”We can’t stop telling the truth because racists get the wrong idea,“ host of ”Real Time“ argues

During the “New Rules” segment of Friday’s episode of “Real Time,” Bill Maher waded into some contentious waters when he argued that it should be perfectly OK to refer to coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.”

Of course, the Trump administration has been trying since March to popularize the term “Chinese virus,” which critics say is racist and may have inspired racist attacks on Asian-Americans. But in Maher’s view, the term is useful for understanding where the infection originated and not only that, he argued that China bears some responsibility for its spread.

“Scientists, who are generally pretty liberal, have been naming diseases after the places they came from for a very long time,” Maher said in the segment, delivered like the rest of the episode from his house. “Zika is from the Zika Forest. Ebola from the Ebola River. Hantavirus, the Hantan River.There’s the West Nile Virus and Guinea worm and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and of course the Spanish flu.”

(Sidenote: The 1918-1920 influenza pandemic didn’t actually originate in Spain. But Britain, Germany, France, the U.S. and other nations had imposed severe media censorship during World War I and suppressed information about the illness. Meanwhile in Spain, which didn’t participate in the war, media was free to report on the devastating plague, hence the association. Researchers believe the most likely points of origin are either battlefields in Europe during the war, or Kansas in the United States. Researchers have also suggested possible origins in China.)

“MERS stands for Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome,” Maher continued. “It’s plastered all over airports and no one blogs about it. So, why should China get a pass? Congressman Ted Lieu tweeted, ‘The virus is not constrained by country or race. Be just as stupid to call it the Milan Virus.'”

“No, that would be way stupider because it didn’t come from Milan,” said Maher. “And if it did, I guarantee we’d be calling it the Milan Virus. Jesus f—ing Christ. 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 added that it “scares” him “that there are people out there who would rather die from the virus than call it by the wrong name” and insisted he wasn’t trying to vilify China specifically. “This is about facts. It’s about life and death. We’re barely four months into this pandemic and the wet markets in China — the ones where exotic animals are sold and consumed — are already starting to reopen.”

Maher continued by  complaining about other things that bug him, such as liberals defending the wearing of hijabs and burkas, before continuing with “It’s not racist to point out that eating bats is batshit crazy.”

“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.’ Dr. Fauci says we should force a global closure of the wet markets because the current crisis is a quote ‘direct result’ of them. On Monday, the UN’s acting head of biodiversity said the same thing,” Maher said.

“So,” he continued, “when someone says, ‘What if people hear Chinese virus and blame China?’ the answer is we should blame China. Not Chinese Americans, but we can’t stop telling the truth because racists get the wrong idea. There are always going to be idiots out there who want to indulge their prejudices.”

Maher then reiterated his point that “this has nothing to do with Asian Americans, and it has everything to do with China. We can’t afford the luxury anymore of non-judginess towards a country with habits that kill millions of people everywhere. Because this isn’t the first time. SARS came from China, and the bird flu, and the Hong Kong flu, the Asian flu.”

“If they were selling nuclear suitcases at these wet markets would we be so non-judgmental? And isn’t this pretty close to what they are selling? And the next one could be even worse,” Maher said. “If the Chinese military had purposefully infected this country with corona as a bioweapon, we’d be at war with them. We’re always griping about how China manipulates their currency. Well, I’m no monetary expert but I think you would agree this one hurt our economy a little more than the currency manipulation. And China can do this. China once built a 57-story skyscraper in 19 days.”

“They’re not like us. They can actually get shit done. This is a dictatorship that for decades enforced a one child per family policy under penalty of forced sterilization,” he added. “But you can’t close down the farmer’s market from hell? They need to use that iron fist and pound it down like the whole world depends on it, because it kind of does.”

“And I hope that if someone told Americans that eating hot pockets could cause a worldwide pandemic that we would have the good sense to stop doing it,” Maher concluded. “Although I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Watch the segment above.