The icy flecks melted in her mouth. Karla is working for the World Health Organization WHO and she is involved in testing new treatments for the emerging variants of the Covid-19 coronavirus, which keeps mutating because stubborn Anti-Vaxxers refuse to get their shots. Karla knows how people dislike getting injections, so she has created flavored ice pop vaccines, which she is hoping people might be more accepting of. Since new variants of the virus are expected to keep on occurring and so far, this virus has mutated from Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Eta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu and the newest Omicron, Karla expects to be very busy. The Alpha variant was first found in the UK in September 2020, Beta was discovered in South Africa in May 2020, Gamma was found in Brazil, in November 2020, Delta was first identified in India in October 2020, Epsilon originated in Southern California in January 2021, Zeta was found in Rio de Janeiro in January of 2021, Theta was detected in Japan in March of 2021, Eta was first detected in Nigeria in December 2020, Iota started in New York in November of 2020, Kappa was first documented in India in October 2020, Lambda first appeared in Peru in December 2020, Mu was found in Colombia in January of 2021 and Omicron was discovered in Botswana in November of 2021.
With only nine letters remaining, the World Health Organization has not decided what they will do when they run out of Greek letters for all of the new variants that are being detected, but they skipped the letters Nu and Xi when naming the Omicron variant. Nu and Xi were deliberately avoided, thinking that Nu would be confused with the word “new” and Xi was skipped to avoid stigmatizing a region, since the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s name might create an opportunity for racism in view of the origin of the coronavirus. The next variant will probably end up becoming the Pi variant. Today Karla is testing out the new banana popsicle vaccine flavor.
Written for Michelle of Putting My Feet in the Dirt new Weekly Story Starters challenge.