Millions of Africans have breathed a sigh of relief as the latest epidemic ravaging the world does not have it origin on the continent. COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China, which many in Africa are quick to point out is very far away from the area where many other deadly epidemics have sprouted.
“We’ve had some real doozies,” said Jane Aceng, Minister of Health in Uganda. “Ebola, Chikungunya, Zika, HIV, West Nile; it’s been pretty crazy here.” Now, she said, “it’s nice to see some other continents take the heat.”
As US President Donald Trump repeatedly refers to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” Africans are looking at the fact that he hasn’t banned travel from Africa yet as an encouraging sign.
“He’s normally such a racist asshole towards us,” explained Chidi Osinbajo of Lagos, Nigeria. He pointed to the famous “shithole countries” comments Trump made in 2018, widely thought to be directed at African immigrants. “He’s still a racist asshole, but now it’s the Chinese he’s going on about, which is a change.”
Other Africans are excited to be able to hassle white people at the airport for once, as many countries suspend or restrict flights to and from Europe. Morocco has suspended all international flights, leading to many displaced and desperate tourists. As they turn to local governments for assistance, Moroccans are reveling in the change of circumstances.
“We can’t afford to pay for all of these migrants,” Mahmoud El-Fassi of Marrakesh gleefully insisted, “and they can’t expect us to just give them handouts. If they want basic human dignity they’ll have to prove that they’re not riddled with disease.” He tried to remain serious as he laid out his concerns about “unchecked foreigners spreading the virus to citizens,” but giggled with delight as he described the restrictions he would put in. “Something with big barbed wire fences, probably,” he proposed, “and somehow both denying them access to basic sanitation and medical care but also insisting that they are dirty and sick.”