Lisa Ling doubled down on her criticism of President Donald Trump for referring to the coronavirus as the "Chinese virus," saying the verbiage "seemed like a way to deflect attention from the fact that he was not taking [the virus] seriously for months."
The journalist and former co-host of "The View" returned to the Hot Topics table Friday via satellite from her home in Los Angeles, where the city is under an ordered lockdown amid the outbreak.
Ling took to Instagram on Wednesday to condemn the president for using the term "Chinese virus" instead of COVID-19.
"Since POTUS began referring to COVID19 as 'Chinese Virus,' attacks and insults directed toward Asians have risen sharply," Ling wrote on Instagram. "We are all in this together irrespective of where it allegedly started."
There have been physical assaults reported in New York, vandalism in California, and many more incidents of name-calling and similar discrimination, according to the civil rights coalition Asian Americans Advancing Justice, which created a website where Asian Americans could report bias incidents related to COVID-19.
"It’s here now and WE ALL need to defend against it," Ling continued in her post.
COVID-19 began in Wuhan, China as early as Dec. 31, 2019 when Chinese health authorities confirmed dozens of people in Wuhan were being treated for a mysterious pneumonia from an unknown source. Many of those sickened had visited a live animal market in Wuhan, but authorities claimed there was no evidence of the virus spreading from person to person.
After backlash for saying "Chinese virus" when referring to COVID-19, Trump told Fox News on Tuesday he'd stop using the term and associating the virus with China, although he doesn’t “regret” the reference.
Ling spoke out about the president's language – which a senior World Health Organization official condemned for stigmatizing certain ethnic groups – on "The View" Friday.
"I was pretty astounded when he started calling the coronavirus the 'Chinese virus," Ling said. "It's been months since this crisis began and to me, it just seemed like a way to deflect attention from the fact that he was not taking it seriously for months and months."
"It seemed like he was deflecting blame," she added.
Co-host Meghan McCain also condemned the term's use, and asked Ling her thoughts on concerns of China's government covering up the full extent of the coronavirus outbreak.
"I by no means have any love or affection for the Chinese government," Ling premised. "I have found that their actions immediately after the virus was discovered in Wuhan, their actions have been indefensible."
Ling also recalled Dr. Li Wenliang, a Chinese health professional who tried to warn colleagues about the coronavirus, was reprimanded by local police for "spreading untruthful information online," and ultimately died from the virus.
"That doctor – may he rest in peace – that sounded the alarm, that this is something that we should be concerned about," Ling said. "The fact that he was arrested to me is unconscionable."
"We could sit here and blame China until we're blue in the face, but how is that going to help us right now?" Ling questioned. "We have just passed 1,000 Americans who have died of coronavirus. Our hospitals are hugely overwhelmed. There is this invisible and silent killer amongst us and we need to address it now."
"Focusing on blaming China isn't going to do us any good now," Ling added.
According to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 532,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, spanning every continent except Antarctica. At least 122,000 people have recovered worldwide.
With more than 85,000 diagnosed cases, the U.S has the highest national total, ahead of Italy and China.
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