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'Just Astoundingly Gross': MSNBC's Chris Hayes Criticizes Calling Coronavirus 'Wuhan Virus'


MSNBC’s Chris Hayes has apparently decided that calling the coronavirus outbreak the “Wuhan Virus,” after the place where it originated, is “gross” -- despite the fact that several official organizations, including NBC News and the Chinese themselves, have done the same thing in the past.

Hayes retweeted a tweet from Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, who said that he and some of his senior staff would be self-quarantining after coming into contact with an individual at CPAC who has since been hospitalized with the "Wuhan Virus."

Hayes responded that the moniker was "astoundingly gross."

Just astoundingly gross to call it the Wuhan Virus.

— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 9, 2020

Of course, a significant portion of the Twitterverse was more than happy to inform Hayes that to call a particular disease or strain after the place where it originated is quite natural, and indeed is what has been done with many past disease outbreaks, including Ebola, Lyme disease, Zika, and West Nile Fever.

Lots of illnesses are named for their point of origin:

- Spanish flu
- Lyme disease from Lyme, CT
- Zika from the Zika Forest in Uganda
- German measles
- West Nile Fever
- Ebola after the Ebola River in the Congo

...just to list a few

So spare us your virtue signaling B.S.

— Teacloc (@Teacloc) March 9, 2020

Eh.... it originated there. No one disputes that. These epidemic type of diseases are often referred to by where they originated (eg., Ebola). Is he doing it on purpose to emphasize it began externally? Yeah, but that isn’t racist, per se

— A.J. Delgado (@AJDelgado13) March 9, 2020

Is it also astoundingly gross when Chinese in Asia call it the Wuhan Virus?

— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) March 9, 2020

There was even one reply pointing out Hayes' own hypocrisy, referencing a tweet of his about the Ebola virus epidemic.

Yet you have no problem using the term "Ebola" to refer to a virus. What do you have against the people of the Ebola river? Why are you such an astoundingly gross racist?

— Gurwinder (@G_S_Bhogal) March 9, 2020

And finally, there were a few who noted that Hayes seemed to have no problem when New York Times opinion writer Gail Collins claimed it should be renamed the “TrumpVirus.”

You're happy with this

— Duh Wrench (@PaulGavigan4) March 9, 2020

"Astoundingly gross" NY Times

— Jose de Vivre (@TSentenil) March 9, 2020

It’s unclear what exact message Hayes is trying to send with such a proclamation. Does he seek to challenge the natural course of neologistic phrasing? Or is it more likely he’s just trying to score some bleeding-heart social justice points? Either way, it doesn’t seem to be working quite the way he wanted it to.

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