WHO is on first

Matt Burgess
Insights Newsletter
3 December, 2021

Celebrations this week for Delta Airlines, Delta Electronics, Delta-Fly Pharma Inc and Delta Goodrem as – finally – a new variant of COVID sweeps the world.

But spare a thought for the staff at Omicron Inversiones, an investment company in Spain.

For them, chaos has come two variants sooner than expected after the World Health Organisation (WHO) decided to skip the thirteenth and fourteenth letters of the Greek alphabet to name the latest COVID variant Omicron.

One of the skipped letters is Xi.

WHO says it skipped the letter because Xi is a common surname.

It also happens to be the name of the President of China.

Which tells you something about China’s clout.

China’s influence over the WHO has been suspected almost since the start of the COVID outbreak two years ago.

WHO’s report on the source of the virus is widely seen as a whitewash. They said it is “extremely unlikely” the virus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology because the lab is “well-managed, with a staff health monitoring programme.”

And now WHO is dropping letters from the Greek alphabet. How convenient.

It is not just that the WHO decided to risk being seen to kowtow to China by skipping over the name of its President. It is that WHO risks being seen to have kowtowed to China again.

That is what I mean by clout.

WHO knew we knew who WHO answers to. And they skipped Xi anyway.

But perhaps President Xi has missed a trick.

With the delta variant forced off front pages, shares in Delta Airlines, Delta Electronics and Delta-Fly Pharma are all down. It seems there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Which makes you wonder what President Xi is so worried about. I’m no expert on China, but the Xi variant could have done wonders for his name recognition in upcoming election campaign.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand government is keeping it simple. Traffic lights now only come in two colours.

The entire country is at level orange or red. Nobody is green.

Not even the Chatham Islands, which has never seen COVID and with a vaccination rate of more than 90%. Orange.

But I think I have cracked the government’s traffic light code. You see, orange is made by mixing green and red.

The government is telling us to both stop and go at the same time.

So, expect steep fines for anybody who is found not walking in circles.

Stay in the loop: Subscribe to updates