Iowa Democrat State Sen. Claire Celsi took to the floor of the Senate on Monday evening to detail her disgust with individuals who call COVID-19 the China Virus.
The China Virus originated in Wuhan and has killed more than 2.6 million worldwide.
“I have been disturbed by the rise in violence against Asian American people both in Iowa and nationally,” she said. “The government must recognize that it has played a role in furthering these xenophobic sentiments through the actions of political leaders, including references to the COVID-9 (sic) pandemic by the geographic location of its origin. Such statements have stoked unfounded fears and perpetuated stigma about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and have contributed to increasing rates of bullying, harassment and hate crimes against Asian American persons.”
Celsi detailed some specific incidents that she believes show the consequences of calling the China Virus the China Virus.
“The surge in hate incidents against the Asian American community since the start of the pandemic was set aflame last winter when President Trump began scapegoating Chinese people for the explosion of the Coronavirus in the United States,” Celsi said. “The racism and discrimination accompanying the pandemic comes atop the devastation the disease has had on some portions of the Asian and Pacific Islander community, including health-related business closures and deaths of at least 67 Filipino registered nurses. A staggering 31 percent of all nursing deaths even though Filipinos make up only 4 percent of registered nurses in the United States.
“Imagine my deep disappointment to hear our former governor, Terry Branstad, use the words China Virus on national television during an interview. I was appalled to hear those same words coming from someone in this chamber referencing the China Virus when I think that person really meant to say COVID-19.
“We are people who other folks look to as an example. When we don’t meet the standards, which should be higher since we’re here in the Senate, we can’t expect any better from the folks who are listening to us.”
Last week Sen. Celsi was criticized for calling Republican Rep. Eddie Andrews a sellout. Andrews is the only black GOP member of the Iowa legislature.
That incident makes her final paragraph of remarks a bit ironic and awfully hypocritical.