Who Should Really Be In Charge Of Naming A Virus?

Amanda Yuk
2 min readNov 30, 2021
Photo by Tadeusz Lakota on Unsplash

Does the responsibility fall on an international healthcare organization that sets out protocols for citizens of various countries, telling them to adhere to the latest guidelines on mask mandates, vaccination availability and allocation? Or does it fall on a single researcher whose work revolves around reproduction numbers and gene mutations?

This question baffles the mind. Is the usage of Greek alphabets in coming up with labels for these tiny cells which can cause damage to our essential organs a nod to the mythological creatures we often read about or is it simply avoidance of political hobnob? Perhaps we don’t really care that their names start to become more and more boring — It would make going out a lot more fun if viruses could be re-imagined as objects of affection like decorative items around the home or cute wall decals.

Sadly, this is not going to be possible for the time being so we cheer ourselves up by getting adorable masks and masks covers, using peach-scented hand sanitizers and alcoholic wet wipes with pretty packaging, hoping that the food to be consumed does not contain any strange ingredients which would make us produce less antibodies to fight the epidemic in the long-term.

If the virus could talk, one can imagine its beady eyes and little sticklers laughing at us. It would boast about being powerful and all-encompassing, with 1.6 billion of us trying not to fall into its grip. In the meantime, for better or for worse, travelling anywhere with a mask has become as normal as carrying our important documents when we want to go on a holiday. In the time it has taken for me to write this — A Carribean nation has officially been declared free from its former colonial status, the media industry has been completely revolutionized by non-fungible tokens and our global economy has been throttled by cryptocurrency.

Similar to how our computers use adblockers to keep it safe from viruses, we too can keep our sanity by letting our minds daydream a little bit. Any guesses what the next one might be called ? Pegasus? Persephone? Philadelphia? Phytoplankton? Phlegm ?(Ahem.) Who knows?

After all, life is an open-ended examination booklet with no definite answers.

Amanda Yuk

A writer making her mark one word at a time.