Former NBA basketball player and current Beijing Ducks guard Jeremy Lin called out President Donald Trump for “empowering” racism for Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” to refer to the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the globe.
“I wish you would powerfully support the vulnerable people that will suffer due to our mismanagement of this virus, including those that will be affected by the racism you’re empowering,” Lin wrote Wednesday from his verified Twitter account.
Lin’s comments were in response to a tweet posted by Trump from the previous day in which Trump vowed to support industries that had been negatively impacted by the virtual shutdown caused by the spread of COVID-19, the official name of the coronavirus.
“The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus,” Trump wrote. “We will be stronger than ever before!”
On Wednesday, Trump said using the term is “not racist at all” because “it comes from China.” Many medical experts and officials from the World Health Organization, however, have indicated that the term can be stigmatizing.
The World Health Organization’s guidance for naming infectious diseases cautions against naming diseases for locations or people like the West Nile virus or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
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Lin, 31, was born in Torrance, Calif., but is of Taiwanese descent. He spent 10 seasons in the NBA, including one with the New York Knicks in 2011-12 in which he emerged as a playmaker for the team through the “Linsanity” craze. He won an NBA Finals championship last season as a member of the Toronto Raptors.
The “mismanagement” Lin alluded to in his tweet may be a reference to the shortage of coronavirus tests in the United States that has likely resulted in the number of confirmed cases being lower than the actual tally with a potential for many undiagnosed cases.
The medical industry is bracing for a sharp increase in cases expected to come over the coming days and weeks, in which hospital beds and ventilators may be in short supply.
A USA TODAY data analysis found that the coronavirus “curve” may be at its most dangerous point. A review of confirmed cases in the U.S. showed that two weeks after the U.S. first entered into community transmission on March 3, America’s trajectory is trending toward a sharp acceleration that mirrors Italy’s, which has been devastated by the virus.
The coronavirus, as of Thursday morning, has more than 9,400 confirmed cases in the United States and has a death toll of 150, which comes across 22 states.