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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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TN Republican introduces legislation to fight opioid shipments into U.S.

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Tennessee Republican Representative Diana Harshbarger is attempting to fight the opioid crisis and epidemic through new legislation. Introduced Friday, Harshbarger told the Daily Caller:

The Daily Caller first obtained a copy of the legislation, which addresses what Harshbarger calls a “loophole.” The legislation amends the Controlled Substances Act to specifically require registrants to investigate reports of suspicious orders of controlled substances and halt them if necessary. Under the version of the act currently in force, drug manufacturers and distributors are only required to report suspicious orders of opioids and other controlled substances to the DEA.

“Breaking the opioid epidemic’s stranglehold on our nation is one of my foremost priorities. In an effort to do so, my colleagues and I have identified a loophole that allows distributors to continue order fulfillment, even under suspicious circumstances.”

“My bill closes that loophole with the requirements and guardrails needed to ensure these addictive and potentially dangerous drugs do not fall into the wrong hands while the DEA investigates. The future of our nation depends on us solving the addiction crisis, and this is a step towards that outcome” Harshbarger continued.

The Daily Caller reports:

According to a congressional report released in September, the opioid crisis cost the U.S. $1.5 trillion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDC says 93,331 people died from overdoses in the U.S. in 2020, the highest in 50 years. Opioid-related deaths made up nearly three-quarters of the total.

Pharmaceutical companies have been blamed for contributing to the opioid epidemic. The Department of Justice is currently suing the pharmaceutical company AmerisourceBergen over allegations the company failed to report suspicious orders of opioids to federal law enforcement.

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