A new strain of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been ravaging the world as 2021 comes to a close.
Variants of a virus emerge as the virus mutates.
Here are quick facts you should know about the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
In May this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that it would start naming variants using Greek letters.
The scientific name for Omicron is B.1.1.529.
However, since the WHO says it will be naming variants with Greek letters, Omicron was settled for.
Omicron is the Greek letter “O”, and is the 15th letter in the Greek alphabet.
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Other COVID-19 variants of concern that are similarly Greek-named are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta.
How do you pronounce Omicron? The language app Babbel says it can be pronounced “OH-mee-kraan” or “AH-muh-kraan”, depending on what English speaking part of the world you are in.
The Oxford Dictionary says it’s “o-MIKE-Ron”, which is using the Greek compound “o mikron”, meaning “small o”.
The Omicron strain of COVID-19 is a lot more transmissible than other strains but less severe in comparison. That means symptoms are milder and hospitalisations even less so.
However, it spreads faster.