WHO renames COVID variants to ‘non-stigmatizing’ letters of Greek alphabet
Alpha, Beta, Delta – these could soon be the last names associated with the coronavirus entering public consciousness.
The World Health Organization, in an effort to simplify the labeling of variants of COVID-19 – and avoid stigmatizing certain countries – has renamed the different variants of the virus.
Instead of referring to them by the name of the country in which they were first discovered, such as the Indian, Brazilian or British variants, the WHO wants them to be known by letters of the Greek alphabet.
Thus, the so-called Indian variant (B.1.617.2), the cause of much concern around the world, must be known as Delta, the Brazilian variant (P.1) as Gamma and the British variant. (B.1.1). .7) like Alpha.
They are “easy to pronounce and non-stigmatizing labels” according to the organization, which will be “easier and more practical to discuss by non-scientific audiences”.
The pandemic has raised fears about the stigma, especially its association with China where it was first discovered.
Former US President Donald Trump, who was in power when the pandemic began, often referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and he even called for “kung flu,” a comment widely seen as racist.
President Joe Biden on Thursday signed legislation to curb a dramatic increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The FBI warned at the start of the pandemic that there could be an increase in hate crimes due to the virus’s association with China.