Tiffany calls for DHS Secretary Palm’s resignation over response to ‘Wuhan virus’
World Health Organization says geographic locations should be avoided in naming diseases
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor
WISCONSIN – State Senator and Congressman-elect Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) called for Department of Health Services Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm to “immediately resign” from her post last week.
In a statement from Thursday, May 14 calling for Palm’s resignation, Tiffany referred to COVID-19 as “the Wuhan virus.” The World Health Organization (WHO) includes “geographic locations” in “terms to be avoided” when naming diseases.
“The recent Supreme Court ruling confirmed that Ms. Palm’s power grab exceeded her authority,” Tiffany stated. “Her shotgun approach to lock down Wisconsin has produced disastrous consequences.”
In the statement, Tiffany said the state’s economy and health care system are “collapsing,” and that tens of thousands of people “are struggling to apply for unemployment in an attempt to survive the storm she caused.”
“New data shows us how we can make a targeted response to the Wuhan virus, but Ms. Palm will hear none of it,” Tiffany said.
WHO’s “best practices for naming new human infectious diseases” lists “geographic locations (e.g. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Spanish Flu, Rift Valley fever), people’s names (e.g. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Chagas disease), species of animal or food (e.g. swine flu, bird flu, monkey pox), cultural, population, industry or occupational references (e.g. legionnaires), and terms that incite undue fear (e.g. unknown, fatal, epidemic)” as terms to avoid when naming new diseases.
“In recent years, several new human infectious diseases have emerged,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General for Health Security, WHO. “The use of names such as ‘swine flu’ and ‘Middle East Respiratory Syndrome’ has had unintended negative impacts by stigmatizing certain communities or economic sectors. This may seem like a trivial issue to some, but disease names really do matter to the people who are directly affected. We’ve seen certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities, create unjustified barriers to travel, commerce and trade, and trigger needless slaughtering of food animals. This can have serious consequences for peoples’ lives and livelihoods.”
Governor Tony Evers offered a response to Tiffany’s statement during a press conference on May 14.
“Senator Tiffany, please, you just won an election. Just relax,” Evers said. “This is an insane statement. We talk about trying to tone down the rhetoric, and I’ve done everything I can to do that, and to make a statement about someone who’s dedicated her life to saving lives. Please sir, give us a break. You’re headed to Washington D.C. I know you’re better than this.”