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Aa giant TV screen at a quiet shopping mall in Beijing broadcasts news of Chinese President Xi Jinping talking to medical workers at the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan. / PHOTO: Associated Press (Headline USA) The name of a newly identified variant of the coronavirus has had some social media users scratching their heads about the World Health Organization’s system for labeling certain versions of the virus.
The WHO chose on Friday to dub the variant, first reported to the agency by scientists in South Africa, “omicron”—continuing its use of the Greek alphabet for naming notable variants of the virus.
Social media users correctly noted, however, that the organization skipped two letters in doing so, leading to questions about the move. 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? https://t.co/wURdLcdqw2 — Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 26, 2021 Omicron was first reported to the U.N. health agency by scientists in South Africa.
The agency also deemed it a “ variant of concern .”
The WHO has followed the Greek alphabet when labeling certain variants of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, since May.
It said the system allows for variants to be referred to in a simpler way than by their scientific names, and that it helps prevent people from referring to variants by the location where they were detected and creating stigma.
Many people had expected the agency to label the latest variant nu, which comes after mu, a variant designated on Aug. 30.
Instead, the WHO skipped over nu as well as xi, the next Greek letter in line—a move that many users on social media pointed out, while some questioned whether it was to avoid offending Chinese leader Xi Jinping . As far as I’m concerned the original will always be the Xi variant. https://t.co/tm8EWcmq3A — Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 27, 2021 In a statement provided to the AP, the WHO said it skipped nu for clarity and xi to avoid causing offense generally.
“‘Nu’ is too easily confounded with ‘new,’ and ‘Xi’ was […]
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