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WHO gives new names to COVID variants to avoid ‘stigmatizing’ countries

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The World Health Organization announced Tuesday that it has replaced COVID variant names with Greek letters. This is their attempt to transition to “easy-to-pronounce and non-stigmatizing labels” rather than naming them after the countries from which the variants originated.

First, a variant of the virus began in the United Kingdom. Therefore, that virus will now be referred to as “Alpha” rather than the UK virus. Next, South Africa saw a new variant, now known as “Beta,” then Brazil, which is now called “Gamma.” Then, in October of 2020, India found the variant “Delta.” All of these are labeled “of concern” by the WHO.

Now, there are six variants, two of which originated in the United States, that are “of interest” to the WHO. They are named, in the order that they were discovered, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota and Kappa. The most recent variant is Theta, found in the Philippines in January of 2021.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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Elections

Oklahoma passes bill banning majority of abortions from ‘moment of fertilization’

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Oklahoma’s Republican Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law on Wednesday which bans virtually all abortions “from the moment of fertilization.”

“I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would sign every piece of pro-life legislation that came across my desk and I am proud to keep that promise today. From the moment life begins at conception is when we have a responsibility as human beings to do everything we can to protect that baby’s life and the life of the mother,” Stitt said in a statement. “That is what I believe and that is what the majority of Oklahomans believe.”

The state legislature first approved the bill, which goes into effect immediately, last week. It bans abortions from the moment of fertilization, except for in cases where rape or incest occurred, or where the mother’s life is in danger.

The law also allows for private citizens to sue doctors or those who participate in “producing an abortion for up to $10,000, mimicking the enforcement mechanism in Texas’s fetal heartbeat law” reports National Review.

Under the new law it is a felony offense to perform an abortion, “which will take effect in August unless a court challenge blocks it.”

 

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