A Rutgers University global health expert is available to comment on the dangers of persistent references to the novel coronavirus as a “Chinese virus” by President Trump and other White House officials.

“Such stigmatization leads to disastrous consequences for everyone and for our fight against this pandemic,” said Richard Marlink, director of Rutgers Global Health Institute, who was a leader in the global response to HIV/AIDS. “Any time we portray a disease as belonging to one group, we discourage members of that group from coming forward and receiving the care they need or testing for the virus itself. That is both wrong and puts everyone at greater risk of infection. Also, when racial discrimination occurs, potential crimes related to race could follow. We saw discrimination against various communities in the early days of HIV/AIDS, when President Reagan’s administration was very slow to respond to a deadly new virus infecting Americans.”


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