News & Politics

WHO Skips Two Letters in Greek Alphabet in Naming Omicron Variant, Avoiding a ‘Xi Variant’

WHO Skips Two Letters in Greek Alphabet in Naming Omicron Variant, Avoiding a ‘Xi Variant’
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

As recently as Friday, the new, far scarier, ten million times more lethal COVID variant was called the Nu variant, as Rick Moran noted, is “bigger, taller, faster, more lethal, and more deadly than any other variant in history. They call it the ‘Nu’ variant because nu is the 13th letter of the Greek alphabet and this is the 13th variant discovered.” No sooner did the Nu variant burst upon us, however, that we started hearing about yet another variant, which, since we’re using the Greek alphabet here, should have been named the “Xi variant,” after the Greek letter that follows Nu. Yet the new global menace for which we must surrender still more of our civil liberties and normal way of life is instead called the “Omicron variant,” which turns out to be the new name of the Nu. Or rather, there is no Nu, it’s Omicron.

Confused? Join the club. It was reported Friday evening that the World Health Organization (WHO) has skipped two Greek letters in naming the new variant, going from the little-known global menace called the Mu variant straight to the Omicron variant. The WHO left out the Nu for reasons that Abbott and Costello could best explain: “There’s a new COVID variant.” “Oh yeah? What’s it called.” “Nu.” “Yeah, but what’s it called?” And so on happily. We can’t have people laughing and poking fun at COVID variants; that would destroy the whole terrify-the-populace-into-submission aspect.

But why did the WHO top dogs leave out the “Xi variant”? Could it possibly have to do with the fact that the president of the People’s Republic of China is named Xi, and that we have all been admonished for nearly two years now that to call COVID the “China virus” or “Wuhan virus” is racist beyond measure and far outside the bounds of polite discourse? Senator Ted Cruz (R-New California) thinks so. On Friday he retweeted a tweet from Paul Nuki of the Telegraph: “A WHO source confirmed the letters Nu and Xi of the Greek alphabet had been deliberately avoided. Nu had been skipped to avoid confusion with the word ‘new’ and Xi had been skipped to ‘avoid stigmatising a region’, they said. All pandemics inherently political!” Cruz added: “If the WHO is this scared of the Chinese Communist Party, how can they be trusted to call them out the next time they’re trying to cover up a catastrophic global pandemic?”

Jonathan Turley of George Washington University observed: “He who must not be named. It appears the W.H.O. has skipped the next Greek letter after Nu to name the new variant. The next letter is Xi. The concern is that W.H.O. is again avoiding any discomfort for the Chinese government. So they named it Omicron…”

Related: It’s the ‘Nu’ Variant. Everyone Run for Your Lives!

India Times recalled that the WHO’s kowtowing to Communist China is nothing new: “The WHO has been accused of not acting against and even shielding China when it comes to COVID-19. In the early days of COVID-19, when the outbreak was limited to China, the WHO had repeatedly played down its severity and failed to warn the world until it was too late. The WHO also went with the COVID-19 for the outbreak instead of naming it after where the outbreak began like in the case of the previous coronavirus which was called MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).”

The elites’ house propagandists, however, were ready (as ever) to begin the bootlicking. Ben Zimmer, who is associated with an establishment trifecta of the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, and Slate, tweeted: “Kudos to the WHO for skipping over the potentially confusing Nu and Xi names and going straight to Omicron.” Yes, how confusing it would be to have to be dealing with a “Xi variant”! People might somehow get the crazy idea that the People’s Republic had something to do with unleashing this scourge upon the world, and as the establishment Left edges ever closer to authoritarianism and a total surveillance state, we can’t have that.

The BBC’s Health and Science correspondent, James Gallagher, wrote complacently that in naming the Omicron variant, the WHO “ended days of speculation that we would end up in the slightly ridiculous position of calling the new variant the ‘Nu variant’. There have even been arguments about the correct pronunciation of the Greek letter Nu (it’s technically a ‘Nee’). Instead, you can guarantee we’ll be talking a lot about Omicron in the weeks to come.” Yes, but what about Xi, James? Why is that suddenly the Greek letter that must not be named, to the extent that you don’t even deign to explain to your hapless readers why the WHO skipped over that one as well as Nu?

Meanwhile, some people still regard the BBC as a news organization and the WHO as a reliable source for health data, as the politicization of everything gallops confidently onward.