WHO spents 2 days and $500,000 to rename coronavirus.


In an era where more and more people are working remotely, World Health Organization gathered 400 “scientists” together in Geneva for a two-day meeting. Because Skype is so passé and 400 people is too much for a Viber group chat.

According to WHO Director-General’s remarks this meeting is about questions and answers, but more about questions:”The main outcome we expect from this meeting is not immediate answers to every question that we have.The main outcome is an agreed roadmap on what questions we need to ask, and how we will go about answering those questions.”

But, on the very first day of this meeting WHO came up with a groundbreaking solution for coronavirus. One decision and virus 2019-nCov is no more. It is now called COVID-19.


“We now have a name for the disease and it is covid-19,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told.

He explains that “CO” stands for “corona”, “VI” for “virus” and “D” for “disease” and continues that:”…we had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease.”

The virus was discovered in the Wuhan, a city in China in December last year. Tedros says the name selection fell on covid-19 to avoid references to a specific geographical region, animal species or population group. This is in line with international recommendations to avoid stigma.

In January, WHO gave the new type of coronavirus the temporary name 2019-nCoV, an abbreviation for “2019 novel coronavirus.”

In other news, 365,000 people have already signed a petition for the resignation of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General.

And back to our $500K estimate. Have in mind that this is our conservative estimate since we basically only counted in hotels and flights for 400 people (2 nights each). According to Statista average price of a night in Geneva hotels is EUR 270 (which is $295) . Using online calculator we came up with $236,000 for hotel stays if everyone stays 2 nights only. Round trip flights from USA are around $500. That is another $250,000 for flights. We did not count in food, organization, staff costs, bonuses…