Sunday 28 November 2021

Let's do basic Greek indeed

All Greek in our romance

In the quandary of names or naming, the unintended occurs with the need to avoid unnecessary conflict that some are wont to stir up for it is in confusion and confrontation that they find every sense of satisfaction, you almost voice a silent prayer that peace would never find a home with their kind of hospitality. [UK Today News: Donald Trump Jr, Ted Cruz troll WHO for skipping ‘Xi’ in naming omicron variant]

Much as we have adopted the Greek alphabet as the nomenclature for the variants of the Coronavirus we could as well have used Roman numerals. However, if you thought you could learn the Greek alphabet as the pandemic reveals new ways to remain part of our globally contemporary news stories, you will be on to a bad education.

Know beyond the popular

Having done engineering subjects, many of the units of measurement or formulas for equations have Greek nomenclature, many of which I cannot care to remember at this time. The new Coronavirus Variant of Concern (VoC) has been given omicron, after we have seen through alpha, beta, gamma, and delta variants, some Variants of Interest (VoI) were given lambda and mu. It would appear some designated variants just never reached the popularity stakes and so did not become global news. [WHO: Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants]

To help understand the situation, I have shared the Greek alphabet; alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, zeta, eta, theta, iota, kappa, lambda, mu, nu, xi, omicron, pi, rho, sigma, tau, upsilon, phi, chi, psi, omega.

Names to make trouble with

The WHO skipped the 13th Greek letter, nu just not to give the Coronavirus the moniker of new, the decision to skip the 14th Greek letter xi can be termed political and diplomatic as it would have sent us looking east to China where the first indications the Coronavirus emerged from and it just happens to be the surname of the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping. The surname is first when referring to Chinese names.

I guess we would have been met with the same dilemma if Roman numerals were used, for at the time we had lambda in the Greek alphabet, it would have been XI. The WHO depends on global consensus and cooperation, which can entertain the risk of favouritism and/or bias in trying to serve all interests without offending any principal participant.

Get a piece of the pie

It might have hamstrung the WHO in tackling the Coronavirus with alacrity and most especially in determining the true source of this global pandemic, yet everyone needs to be kept on board.

One can only hope that with the emergence of the omicron variant, world leaders can come together to address the appallingly disgraceful state of global vaccine inequity and along with relaxing patent restrictions to allow the Global South to produce their own vaccines to local distribution too. In a sense, we might with that agreement finally have got a piece of the pie, to get this Coronavirus out of circulation that we would no need to get to a Coronavirus variant called pi.

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