Numerous mainstream media outlets across Europe are running articles discussing the dangers posed by “Eris”, a new Covid-19 variant named after the Greek goddess of discord and strife.
Granted the technical designator EG.5, the variant has reportedly surged in the US, UK and elsewhere.
According to a report in Le Figaro, the virus has also become increasingly prominent in France, with the publication citing one infectious-diseases expert as expressing concern that the variant could see a pandemic once again break out the country.
“The context is favourable to the resumption of the epidemic,” University of Montpellier lecturer Mircea Sofonea remarked, describing the virus as coming about at a time of overall weakened immunity in France.
“The question that will have to be asked is what we will do when the immunity rate drops and the [weather] conditions are a little wetter and more favourable to the virus, probably at the start of the school year or in winter,” he added.
Elsewhere, British tabloid the Daily Mail has cited claims that the spread of the virus can be attributed to the so-called “Barbenheimer effect” – referring to the many thousands of people going to cinemas to watch the popular films Barbie and Oppenheimer released last month.
Another tabloid, the Irish Mirror, cited a radio presenter attacking the Irish Government for not responding. “History repeating itself again,” the presenter claimed.
Although the variant has received plenty of coverage in the mainstream press, not all of it has been alarmist.
While pointing to descriptions of the variant as being “more slippery” and “competitive” than previous strains, The Washington Post also noted that experts have said that there is “no need to panic”.
“It is not increasing the number of cases in intensive care, or deaths,” The Post reported Srinath Reddy of the Public Health Foundation of India as saying.
“But we have to keep up our vigilance. Covid-19 is still with us, but there’s no need to panic with this particular variant.”
The Post also noted that the moniker Eris is not an official term recognised by the World Health Organisation but simply an unofficial nickname that it says Twitter users came up with. Similar names have been used for previous variants of Covid, such as “Hyperion”, “Arcturus” and “Kraken”.