My former colleague Chris Luke, who is Chinese-American, has taken me to task for that part of a Facebook post in which I seem to link China and, by extension, all Asian peoples to the Covid-19 pandemic, presumably finding most offensive the reference to ” a filthy street market in Wuhan” and bats being butchered for food. She says Asian people, including apparently her relatives, are being “racially profiled” as a consequence of the pervasive linking of the outbreak specifically to China, either to a marketplace, or a lab, or wherever in that country.
I apologized for those words and for what apparently struck Chris as a rather churlish, off-hand reference to Wuhan — as if playing this unsubstantiated origin story for laughs. But I also pointed out that the Chinese government, so brutal and devious, is always victimizing its citizens and, to some extent, the rest of the world, and I suspect the regime there was slow to level with the rest of the world about how long the virus had been active.
But of course, I really don’t know that and, furthermore, this is beside the point of Chris’s complaint.
And to the main observation (about China’s official linkage to the virus strain), my long-time friend and Miami Law Professor Pat Gudridge has suggested that, a.) this, the release of the virus, may have been a mistake — possibly in a Wuhan lab — rather than a specific incident in a marketplace and, b.) it’s a mistake that could have happened anywhere, including in America and, c.) every government would have been slow to inform the public at large for a good two weeks while it tried to clear up the matter and stamp out the virus’s spread. To all of which I say, maybe. Just maybe. What were the protocols in that well-known Wuhan lab that reportedly deals with dangerous virus strains?
Otherwise, the idea that this could have happened anywhere is a hypothetical I hope we never have occasion to test while we continue to deal with the current reality.
A coming best seller from some bright soul will provide a credible, even-handed, well-documented theory and account of just how this dark microbe got released into its first set of lungs and where it got released. We may never know for certain — and, again, I doubt China will help us know. Meanwhile, Chris Luke points out that this virus was called Covid 19 by scientists who first identified it specifically to avoid linking it to one nation. After all, what do German measles really have to do with Germany? And the so-called Spanish flu that ravaged the planet back in 1918 had nothing whatever to do with Spain.
Point well taken. And, for that matter, one might ask — has the lovely town of Lyme, Connecticut suffered irreparably for having been permanently linked to Lyme Disease? (Was it that the first case was identified there? Is a Lyme deer tic any more virulent than a Boston tic?)
Far better to be known for sandwich, like a the Philly Cheese Steak.
But there I go again…