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COVID-19 Variants Named After Greek Letters, Not Military Code

Dina Faisal Dina Faisal
11th December 2021
COVID-19 Variants Named After Greek Letters, Not Military Code
The new variants are not named after military codes (Getty).

The Claim

New COVID-19 are named after military codes and signal military operations.

Emerging story

Users on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are spreading a claim that "the new variants coming out are military codes, and each variant signals military operations." The claim appeared to come from a website called Operational Disclosure Official, which goes into a complicated analysis of how they arrived at a conclusion and that a combination of the code words "Odin," another word for "Omi," and "Cron" was used. According to the statement, the goal of Operation Odin is to control "all media, radio, and internet platforms."

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Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the claim and found that it was false. New variants are not named after military codes, and they do not indicate any military operations. The World Health Organisation has said that, after much deliberation with their global expert partners, they agreed to assign "simple, easy to say and remember labels for key variants" of COVID-19 by using Greek alphabets. Names like Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta will be easier and more practical to be discussed by non-scientific audiences than the complicated scientific names, which could cause misinformation. These variants of concern can all be seen and tracked on their website and can be seen below.

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While the US military does indeed have a project called Operation Odin, this operation refers to attack detection technologies and is not an operation aimed at controlling "all media, radio, and internet platforms" as stated in the claim. None of the other claimed military codes are real. The US military uses the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet (IRSA) so as to avoid miscommunication in its military operations. This method is also used by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Their website adds that the NATO phonetics "became effective in 1956 and, a few years later, turned into the established universal phonetic alphabet for all military, civilian, and amateur radio communications." Some of the alphabets are represented by Greek alphabets such as "Alpha" and "Delta", but not Omicron. 

Based on the findings and a clear statement by the WHO, the Misbar team confirms that the claim is false and that the new variants are not named after military codes or operations but rather the Greek alphabet. 

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

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