News and Analysis

World Health Organization Skips Over Naming New Coronavirus Variant ‘Xi’ To Avoid Causing ‘Offence’: Report
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech via video link at the opening ceremony of the Second United Nations Global Sustainable Transport Conference, Oct. 14, 2021.
Li Tao / Xinhua via Getty Images

The World Health Organization (WHO) skipped over naming the coronavirus variant “xi” to avoid “causing” offense to “any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups.”

The AP reported:

The WHO has followed the Greek alphabet when naming variants of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, and many people had expected the agency to label the latest variant nu, which comes after mu, a variant designated on Aug. 30. Instead, the WHO skipped over nu as well as xi, the next Greek letter in line — a move that many users on social media pointed out, while some questioned whether it was to avoid offending Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

“‘Nu’ is too easily confounded with ‘new,’ and ‘Xi’ was not used because it is a common last name,” the WHO said, adding that the agency’s “best practices for naming disease suggest avoiding ‘causing offence to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups.’”

The AP’s report did not provide any factual evidence pushing back on claims that the WHO skipped over naming the variant “xi” in an effort to “avoid offending Chinese leader Xi Jinping.”

A source told The Telegraph that the WHO avoided naming the variant the Xi variant “to avoid stigmatizing the region.”

The New York Post’s Jon Levine noted that “Mu,” which is also a common Chinese surname and the WHO had no problem naming one of the variants the “Mu” variant.

An online genealogy portal that purports to track the popularity of names claims that “Mu” is more common surname than “Xi” both around the world and in China with approximately 1,028,966 people having “Mu” and 774,021 having “Xi.”

At the start of the pandemic, China and the far-left in the U.S. accused then-President Donald Trump of racism for referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus,” despite the fact that the coronavirus did come from China and numerous other diseases have been named after the places where they emerged.

China has spread baseless conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus, falsely claiming that the virus originated with the U.S. military.

China has been widely accused about lying about the origins of the pandemic, when it knew about the pandemic, and about the number of cases and deaths that the country has suffered from it.

“China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete,” Bloomberg News reported last year, according to three U.S. officials that it spoke to. “Two of the officials said the report concludes that China’s numbers are fake.”

Bloomberg News’ report came after The Daily Mail reported that scientific advisers reportedly told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the China downplayed the true extent of the coronavirus outbreak in their country and that the real number at the time could be “15 to 40 times” higher than what China has reported.

China also has a history of lying about epidemics that originate within its borders.

On April 21, 2003, during the SARS outbreak, The New York Times reported that China admitted to under-reporting the total number of SARS cases:

In a rare public admission of failure, if not deception, the Chinese government disclosed today that cases of a dangerous new respiratory disease were many times higher than previously reported, and stripped two top officials of their power. […]

Admitting to the existence of more than 200 previously undisclosed SARS patients in military hospitals, the official, Deputy Health Minister Gao Qiang, said that as of Friday Beijing had 339 confirmed cases of SARS and an additional 402 suspected cases.

Ten days ago, Health Minister Zhang Wenkang said there were only 22 confirmed SARS cases in Beijing. Last Wednesday, the World Health Organization caused a stir here by estimating that there could be as many as 100 to 200 cases.

The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  World Health Organization Skips Over Naming New Coronavirus Variant ‘Xi’ To Avoid Causing ‘Offence’: Report