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Ted Cruz and Donald Trump Jr. mock WHO for ignoring “Xi” to name new variant of coronavirus “Omicron”


Texas Senator Ted Cruz (L), Donald Trump Jr. (R).Tom Williams-Pool / Getty Images (L), Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images (R)

  • WHO has skipped two letters from the Greek alphabet to name the new variant of the Omicron coronavirus.

  • Some have speculated that the letter Xi was ignored to avoid confusion with the Chinese president’s last name.

  • The WHO reportedly said it made the decision because Xi is a common last name in China.

Right-wing figures including Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump Jr. have criticized the World Health Organization for ignoring the Greek letter Xi and naming the new variant of the coronavirus Omicron.

The WHO named the variants of the coronavirus after the Greek letters of the alphabet, saying it would be “easier and more convenient to be discussed by an unscientific audience”.

Using this system, the next variant should have been called Nu and, after that, Xi.

Following the announcement on Friday that the new variant would be called Omicron, speculation has arisen that the two letters have been ignored to avoid confusion with the English word “new” and to avoid upsetting Chinese President Xi Jinping.

(The Greek letter and the Chinese surname are spelled the same but are pronounced differently.)

“If the WHO is so afraid of the Chinese Communist Party, how can it be trusted to call it the next time it tries to cover up a catastrophic global pandemic?” Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted.

Cruz responded to a tweet suggesting that the WHO had decided to skip Xi to “avoid stigmatizing an area”.

Donald Trump Jr. also weighed in on Twitter: “As far as I’m concerned, the original will always be the Xi variant.”

The two echoed the rhetoric common in right-wing circles blaming China for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former President Trump and his allies have often referred to the virus as the “Chinese virus.”

Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Christmas said the health agency decided not to use Xi because it’s a common last name in China.

The WHO chose not to use the name because its best practices for naming the diseases suggest “to avoid offending cultural, social, national, regional, professional and ethnic groups,” he said.

He said they also confirmed that Nu was not used due to its similarity to the word “new”.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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