Pacific University Statement Regarding the Proper Name for the Coronavirus that Causes COVID-19

As Pacific University responds to the coronavirus pandemic, we are increasingly concerned that some — in defiance of public health guidelines — continue to call the cause of this infection the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus.” The Oregon Health Authority has issued the following statement on this matter:

“Oregon is seeing an increase in incidents of discrimination and harassment related to the COVID-19 virus. It is important that all people, businesses, and other organizations act on facts, not bias or xenophobia. Health officials confirm there are no links between COVID-19 infection and a person’s race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, or national origin.”

At Pacific University, we have students, faculty, and staff from all over the world. We at Pacific will call the virus the name given by public health authorities. We are aware the media originally called this agent the “Wuhan virus” before it was identified and appropriately named. Now that we have the correct terminology, we can better support people in our community by only using the correct terms.  

Frequently there is also confusion between the name of the virus and the name of the disease it causes, very much like the distinction between HIV and AIDS or rubeola and measles. Scientists call the virus itself SARS CoV-2, which stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. In lay communications the COVID-19 virus or the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, etc., are all fine. The disease is COVID-19, a coronavirus disease. 

Monday, March 23, 2020