Coronavirus

What is Trump's 'Kung flu' and what he said in Tulsa about tests to detect Covid-19

The United States President Donald Trump used the term 'Kung Flu' to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic during his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

What is Trump's 'Kung flu' and what he said in Tulsa about tests to detect Covid-19
Portland Press Herald Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

On Saturday, United States President Donald Trump held his first campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In front of a far smaller than expected crowd, Trump called the coronavirus 'Kung Flu’ - a slang term that’s been criticized as racist - before going on to claim that it was increased diagnostic testing that has driven up the number of cases of Covid-19 in the US.

With one eye firmly fixed on his re-election campaign for the November elections, Trump has been blaming China for not stopping the spread of the coronavirus in December 2019 in a bid to deflect criticism from his handling of the pandemic in the US, where the virus has claimed almost 120,000 lives.

Since the outbreak started in the US in mid-March Trump has repeatedly used racist terms to describe Covid-19, such as ‘Chinese Virus’ or the ‘Wuhan virus’ prompting outrage from many civil liberties groups. “It has more names than any disease in history. I can name kung flu. I can name 19 different versions of names,” said Trump during the rally.

When Trump has been confronted by reporters about being racist by linking the virus to China, he said it was “not racist at all. It comes from China. I want to be accurate,” was his response. The World Health Organization has advised against terms that link the virus to China to avoid stigmatization.

Trump’s administration slowed down Covid-19 testing

With many states having decided to reopen their economies following Trump’s clear suggestions, the number of coronavirus cases in the country have spiked. Health officials in Oklahoma asked Trump not to organize a rally but they got short shrift.

“Covid. To be specific Covid-19. That name gets further and further away from China, as opposed to calling it the Chinese Virus. We - I - did a phenomenal job handling the outbreak,” Trump said during his rally.

Trump boasted of having “slowed down the testing” because the higher the test numbers, the more Covid-19 confirmed cases would show up during his campaign rally.

Medical experts say that one of the keys to curbing the spread is widespread testing so that people who have the virus can isolate and avoid infecting others. The White House has daily tests for everyone since a few people tested positive a few weeks ago.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and a member of the president's coronavirus task force, said earlier this week while more testing does result in more confirmed cases, the recent surge in some states "cannot be explained by increased testing."