My name is SARS-CoV-2-B.1.1.529

What’s yours?

Hello, friends, it’s ever so nice to meet you! Soon, my nickname shall be Nu*. I mutated into my new, extra-sticky shell very recently in South Africa, but I’m so clever, I managed to spread a little hither and fro already, even all the way to Hong Kong!

  • *Addendum: Since I posted last night, the World Health Organisation named the B.1.1.529 variant “Omicron”, skipping both the letters Nu and Xi because ‘Nu’ could be confused with ‘new’ and ‘Xi’ is a common surname and WHO agreed to naming rules that exclude using place names, people’s names, animal, etc. to avoid stigma.

Can you imagine, scared folks in the UK and in some European countries have immediately barred flights from several southern African countries in an effort to keep me contained. Ha, as if that ever worked!!

You see, my viral brethren and I need you so we may multiply and jump happily from one human respiratory system to the next. Flight restrictions won’t make much of a difference to us. But we do love your protest marches and your angry shouts at mass congregations, oh, yes, we do! Every droplet of exhaled breath, every shiny aerosol orb carries us by the hundreds of thousands from throat to nose, from nose to throat. We just love to float through the air between your unsuspecting faces. Yes, we do.

Except when you’re vaccinated. When you’re vaccinated we have a much harder time to penetrate the cells of your mucosae, you know, these slimy surfaces in human noses and throats. They’re kind of discusting anyway, but in vaccinated people they take on bodyguards that are downright nasty to us viruses. Sometimes, we still manage to breach their defences and infect these respiratory cells, but more often than not, we have to give up and die quietly.

So, friends, which way is it going to go?

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