写给Nature的信:Stop using the offensive virus names

关于Nature报道新冠病毒使用的名称问题

Nature在报道新冠病毒时候,使用的名字都很刺耳,于是我写了一篇短评论给Nature。

Stop using the offensive virus names

Inappropriate naming of the new human disease inevitably causes prejudice and discrimination upon particular people and undue fear of the diseases on global social media, although unintentionally.

After the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) causing a severe respiratory illness, some of the research papers and news on nature (such as Nature 577, 450 (2020), Nature 577, 605-607 (2020), doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-00146-w, doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-00180-8, doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-00253-8 and doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-00262-7 ) and other media used “China Coronavirus", “Wuhan Coronavirus", even “Chinese Virus". Such inappropriate naming did not only lead to affronted counteraction in Chinese social media, but also armed the notorious sinophobia and anti-Asian racism around the world. The people in the region suffering short-term contagious virus now will be stigmatized by far-reaching hostility from outside.

I propose the editors, journalists and researchers on nature and broad science community to avoid such inappropriate names of any current and future human infectious diseases or viruses. Even though it is difficult and time-consuming to rename the diseases and viruses we named before, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), Spanish flu, Ebola Virus, we must take immediate action of adapting no-harm names.

In 2015, for minimizing “unnecessary negative impact of disease names on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare, and avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups”, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidelines that suggested scientists, journalist and health officials to use more neutral, generic terms to name new human diseases. The guideline is applicable to any unrecognized infections, syndromes, viruses, and diseases of humans that unreported in human and harm human health potentially.

In scientific communities, such as The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine, the “2019 novel coronavirus” is referenced dominantly, which is the no-harm name describing the 2019-nCoV. As the names of the new diseases and viruses will make their way into human history, we must select the more neutral and non-offensive names methodically.

一周以后,我收到了Nature编辑的回信:

Thank you for your submission to Correspondence. We have received a large number of letters relating to the new coronavirus, many of which make overlapping points or points already covered by our reporters. We have therefore chosen a representative sample for publication.

意思他们收到了很多人就类似问题提交的评论,他们会找编辑整理一下发表。

但是已经过去7天了,上面提到的错误名字的新闻还是依旧在那儿,依然在伤害着正在抗击病毒的武汉人和中国人。我还会继续给Nature写信,让他们把错误的名字改过来。

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舒乐乐
博士后研究员, SHUD模型作者

加州大学戴维斯分校博士后研究员, SHUD模型作者; 专注于数值方法的分布式水文模型、水文大数据的机器学习、气候/人类活动对水循环的影响和集成模型耦合研究

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