Bill Maher: We named other viruses after where they originated. Why should China be an exception?


You know you’ve been in quarantine too long when you find yourself nodding along throughout a five-minute Bill Maher monologue.

No, I kid. I made some of the same points he makes in the clip below a few days ago. It can’t be stressed enough that the pandemic is a product not of happenstance but of two deliberate decisions made by the Chinese government. One was refusing to close down the wet markets despite repeated warnings over the years that they were incubating the next global plague. (If you favor the theory that the virus escaped from a lab near Wuhan, maybe you’re not as hung up on that.) The other, of course, is Beijing’s public denials about the spread of the disease in December and January, when it knew otherwise.

Acknowledging the virus’s national origins under those circumstances isn’t scapegoating. It’s a simple act of speaking truth to power.

His point at the end about how the U.S. would have reacted to a deliberate bioweapon attack is well taken. China may not have intended for tens of thousands of Americans to die when it covered up the epidemic initially but that was a foreseeable result of its recklessness. It may not be murder but it’s certainly manslaughter. Deaths in New York City are currently coming at a clip equal to the toll on 9/11 every four days. The national death toll matches 9/11 every 36 hours or so. The barest justice for Americans is to make sure the world has its facts straight that China is responsible. But once we’re past this, we’re going to need more justice than that. Much more.

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Exit question: Why isn’t he looking directly into the camera here?

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