DAN WOOTTON: Renaming Covid variants after letters of the Greek alphabet spells W-O-K-E but it will be music to the ears of the Chinese government who are desperate to cover up where it all started
The World Health Organization has failed time and again during the biggest public health emergency in a century.
It failed to hold the Chinese communist government to account for covering up the origins of Covid-19.
It failed to prepare the world for what had just been unleashed from China.
And it failed to properly investigate the very legitimate theory the disease was leaked from a Wuhan lab.
With over three million already dead, you’d hope and pray that by now the WHO had started to get its priorities straight.
A worker inside the P4 laboratory at Wuhan in China’s Hubei province in February 2017
But instead, like so many international organisations, despite the dire emergency the world faces it cannot abandon political correctness.
That’s the only explanation for yesterday’s decision for the WHO to rename Covid variants after Greek letters of the alphabet – to avoid ‘geographically stigmatising and discriminatory’ discussion.
So from here on in the Indian variant will be officially known as Delta. The Brazilian variant now becomes Gamma. South Africa’s variant is transformed to Beta.
And our very own Kent variant – referred to internationally as the UK variant – is named Alpha going forward.
WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove admitted the change ‘is aimed to help in public discussion’.
In other words, the thought-police strike again.
The P4 laboratory (centre left) on the campus of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in May 2020
Justifying the decision, Van Kerkhove said: ‘No country should be stigmatised for detecting and reporting variants. The labels are simple, easy to say and remember, and are based on the Greek alphabet, a system that was chosen following wide consultation and a review of several potential systems.’
What complete and utter cobblers.
There’s only one reason the variants have been named after the locations where they were identified: Because it’s a geographical fact and easy to remember.
It’s been bad enough having to listen to terrified UK politicians and broadcasters go through their strangulated formula of ‘variant B.1.617 the variant first identified in India’ to avoid simply saying ‘the Indian variant’ like any normal human being.
But now they are just going to be random Greek words?
WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove admitted the change ‘is aimed to help in public discussion’
Throughout the long dark winter, with Great Britain suffering a brutal second wave and plunged into a draconian lockdown, the international media revelled in discussing the UK variant at every opportunity.
Our EU neighbours, desperate to deflect from their pathetic failed vaccine rollout, couldn’t stop talking about the dastardly British strain.
In America, the media simply say the UK or British variant. And nobody complains.
I never felt any racial hatred over that. We discovered the strain in the UK. End of story.
Here at home we all, including politicians and broadcasters, have come to simply call it the ‘Kent variant’. And I don’t believe the good people of that county have felt particularly stigmatised by it.
Likewise, the WHO was quite happy when South Africa became a byword for scary Covid transmissibility.
So what’s changed six months later? It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that’s what driving this now is the spectre of racism because India is a non-white country.
Not that there have been any reported cases in the UK of Indians being abused over this new variant.
The decision is particularly pointless because it won’t change the realities of the variant that has seen countries like Australia ruthlessly ban all arrivals from India, even for their own citizens.
So I’m going to keep on talking about the Kent variant, the Indian variant and the South African variant.
There is absolutely nothing even slightly racist about it – simply a practical decision so you know what the hell I’m talking about.
Meanwhile, what the WHO position of avoiding geographical stigma really does is play into the hands of China.
From day one of this virus, the Chinese government was engaged in a cover-up that makes Chernobyl look like a petty crime.
It successfully hoodwinked the WHO, who have consistently lacked the balls to find out what actually went on.
As I said last April, when the idiots at Facebook tried to claim it was a conspiracy theory, the Chinese government has serious questions to answer about whether the virus was leaked from a Wuhan lab.
If that proves to be the case, why the hell should Covid-19 NOT be known as the China virus – as Donald Trump used to call it publicly to th disgust of the woke world?
The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic didn’t cause long lasting reputational damage to Spain, even though there’s no proof it even started there.
Nor the Hong Kong flu that killed between one and four million souls in 1968, although somewhat ironically the first outbreak may have actually started in mainland China and spread to the island.
The difference in this case is that China was actively engaged in covering up the origins of Covid-19, which at the very least helped it spread unchecked across the globe.
There was typical pearl clutching from the great and the good when it was suggested that Dominic Cummings might claim Boris Johnson – like Donald Trump, had privately referred to Covid in the early days as ‘kung flu’.
Again, I don’t for a single second think that’s racist. Simply a funny pun.
But in these puritanical times, where officialdom looks for racism and phobias in every utterance, that’s enough to get most people cancelled.
In fact, if it wasn’t for the political correctness and anti-Trump behaviour of organisations like the WHO and Facebook, we might know far more about the origin of this disease by now.
Politically correct wokery has no place in the international politics of public health.
The World Health Organization should stop worrying about what we call Covid-19 and start focussing on how – and by whom – it was created.
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