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Neighbors Say Lt. Gov. Husted Will Meet Them To Discuss ‘Wuhan Virus’ Tweet

Now-Lt. Gov. Jon Husted speaking at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce Government Day in Cincinnati, Ohio on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018.
John Minchillo
/
Associated Press
Now-Lt. Gov. Jon Husted speaking at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce Government Day in Cincinnati, Ohio on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018.

A group representing Asian American neighbors of Ohio’s Republican lieutenant governor says he and his family have agreed to meet with them to discuss their concerns about his recent tweet, which referred to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus.”

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted's office didn't immediately confirm the meeting with residents of Upper Arlington, which the group said is set for Friday.

His neighbors plan to express how Husted's words impacted them during a time where there is an uptick of attacks against the Asian American community.

In his tweet, Husted posted an article about former CDC director Robert Redfield giving an opinion — without evidence — that he believed the coronavirus originated from a lab in Wuhan, China. Husted commented, "So it appears it was the Wuhan Virus after all?"

It immediately drew criticism as advocates warned such rhetoric is a driving force behind violence against Asian Americans, especially after the spa shootings around Atlanta.

A new report from the World Health Organization called it "extremely unlikely" that hte coronavirus originated from a lab, and instead was likely spread from animals to humans.

Husted has defended his tweet, saying it was meant to be a criticism of the Chinese government.

Dozens of Asian Americans who live in Upper Arlington penned a letter expressing their concerns with Husted's tweet and their fears of safety in Ohio.

"Our children have been targeted for bullying and abuse in the district well before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that abuse has increased significantly in the last 14 months and has reached levels that have brought news media attention to our doorsteps," the letter reads. "Our children are the classmates, friends, and neighbors of your children."