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Romain Fournier

Chief Editor
Having worked in the British, French and Swiss financial press, Romain is able to report on local and international issues, as comfortable in French as in the language of Shakespeare, Romain Fournier leads the editorial team at Marketscreener. Fine connoisseur of the English-speaking markets, Romain delivers an editorial every day on US and UK markets.

The Greek-Covid lottery

12/02/2021 | 12:23pm EST

A new Greek letter is now on every language: Omicron, and it's taking over the media scene. For more than a year now, the World Health Organization has been using the letters of the Greek alphabet to name the variants of the coronavirus. But we are not fooled! Before Omicron, there is "Nu" and "Xi"?! So how does the health agency make its selection?

"Nu", the thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, was supposed to qualify this new variant, but it is too easily confused with the English "New".

"Xi", the fourteenth letter, was not used because it is a common surname in Asia, the WHO explained. One can easily imagine that the Chinese leader of the same name would not have appreciated this. However, there is at least one criticism to be made of "Omicron": it is an anagram of "moronic". Is the institution trying to send messages with the use of the Greek alphabet? Nothing is less sure... The WHO assures that "these labels were chosen after a wide consultation and a review of potential naming systems".  

We are already at the fifteenth letter out of 24 of the Greek alphabet in less than two years. The pessimists already see the sixteenth coming. Will "Pi" also be abandoned for fear of attracting the wrath of math teachers?

Drawing by Amandine Victor

 


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