Why is the Omicron variant so called? The explanation is far from trivial.

Omicron variant. Unfortunately, these two words can be heard and read over and over again in the next few days. And rightly so, this new variant of the coronavirus, which comes from South Africa, has appeared in Europe. Therefore, Belgium and Germany are affected. Before France?

Why not Nu and Xi?

More contagious than its predecessors, this variant with the scientific name B.1.1.529 is concerning. A real threat, it was deemed “worrisome” by the World Health Organization, which officially decided to call it the “Omicron variant”. But why this name? Obviously, this is not an accident.

After the Beta and Alpha variants, logic would have wanted this new variant to take the name of Nu or Xi, which are also letters of the Greek alphabet. But it was Omicron, also a letter from the Greek alphabet, that was chosen.

If he pushed Nu away with the back of his hand, it was to avoid confusion with the word “new”, which means “new” in English. As for Xi, he refused to avoid rapprochement with Chinese President Xi Jinping and “avoid the stigmatization of a region.” Information mentioned by Paul Nuki, editorial director of the Telegraph, who had the information from WHO.

Asked by the New York Post, a WHO spokeswoman gave the same explanation: “For Nu, the reasoning was that people would have been confused, not knowing if it is a name or the new variant. And Xi because it is a common surname, and we have agreed rules that prevent the use of names of places, people, animals to avoid stigma. ” There you go, now you know everything!

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