BEFORE last week, Omicron was nothing more than the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet – or, for the astronomers amongst us – the fifteenth star in a constellation.
Everything needs its own name these days, it seems.
Like storms, we have now taken to naming variants of that nasty little virus we would rather never have heard of at all – Covid.
We had Beta, Delta, and many wonder why we are now on the fifteenth letter already.
There have been a few in between since Delta, it seems, but when the WHO came to the next letter for the latest variant, they found it was Nu. Thinking it was too confusing as it sounds like ‘new’ they went to the next letter – Xi. Since that is also the name of the Chinese leader Xi Jinping, then that would, of course, have created its own problems. And so we are now left with the naming of the latest variant as ‘Omicron’.
Given the chaos Omicron has caused thus far in world travel and fears over vaccine efficacy, it is difficult not to recall the word coined by that brilliant political satire, The Thick of It – omnishambles.