Newsmax reported Friday that the World Health Organization named the new Covid variant with the Greek letter “Omicron” by skipping past the previous Greek letters “Nu” and “Xi.”
Early Saturday morning, WHO gave us an explanation.
“’Nu’ is too easily confounded with ‘new,’ WHO spokeswoman Carla Drysdale emailed us from the United Nations agency’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, “And ‘Xi’ was not used because it is a common last name.”
Drysdale explained that “WHO’s best practices for naming disease suggest avoiding causing offence to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups.”
To the reader who first alerted Newsmax to the skipping of Greek letters, this explanation is moonshine.
“’Xi’” is not a common name in China, not even among the top one hundred surnames,” government affairs consultant John Sitilides, a fluent Greek speaker, told us, “By one index, “Xi” is the surname of .0006% of Chinese citizens, about 1 of every 1,700.”
But, Sitilides also noted, “Xi is a common name within the paramount office of the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and of the highest-ranking official of the People’s Republic of China — Xi Xinping. The pattern of ongoing WHO deference to the political sensibilities of Beijing’s political leadership is self-evident, quite exceptional, and almost inimitable.”
He went on to observe that “the pattern of troubling WHO decisions over the course of this two-year-old viral pandemic leads to such questions. The WHO ignored Taiwan’s early warnings of a regional viral outbreak in Wuhan. Two weeks later, the WHO repeated Beijing’s claims of no human-to-human transmission. More than a month into the pandemic, the WHO supported continued international travel in and out of China. Six weeks after the global pandemic emerged, the WHO officially named the virus as COVID-19, disconnecting it from its geographic origin, the historical naming process for most major viral outbreaks. The WHO has been criticized for lackluster investigations into the Wuhan origins of the virus, whether from a lab or a wet market.”
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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