Through some well-placed sources in the virus community, I was given a missive penned by the newly discovered omicron coronavirus variant. Apparently it had some things it wanted to get off its outer protein coating.

Here is the text of omicron’s letter:

FOUL HUMANS, I AM THE OMICRON VARIANT OF THE CORONAVIRUS AND I AM HERE TO STAKE MY CLAIM AS YOUR NEW OVERLORD AND ... nah, I’m just messin’ with you.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a virus and I would technically like to make each and every one of you my host, but I don’t want you to think I’m some big, malicious, ego-driven microbe. No, I’m just like you, trying to stay alive and whatnot, except I’m also trying to make you sick and possibly not alive. Potato potahto, am I right?

Anyhoo, I’m kinda new on the scene here, so I wanted to introduce myself and let you know a little about me. How about you settle down in a nice crowded area and take your masks off for a while? (See what I did there? Classic virus humor!)

For starters, I was discovered in South Africa last week and my given scientific name is B.1.1.529. Fun fact: That scientific name, in the language of my fellow viruses, roughly translates to “Steve.”

To make life easier, the eggheads who keep staring at me and my buddies under a microscope—really creepy thing to do, dudes—named me “omicron,” which sounds like the answer to some obscure Star Wars trivia question.

Why omicron? Well, it’s simple. They’re naming us variants using letters from the Greek alphabet. You’ve undoubtedly heard of my cousin, the delta variant. He’s viewed in my world as the Tom Brady of viruses because he never seems to go away and most people hate him.

I’m the 13th variant to receive a Greek-letter designation, so naturally I was assigned omicron, which is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet, further confirming my belief that you humans are bad at math.

The exciting (for me) news is that the World Health Organization has named me “a variant of concern”! Let me tell you, this is a huge deal where I come from.

Of course, good news for me isn’t always (or ever) good news for you all. The mutations in my spike proteins might make me more transmissible and more likely to reinfect people who have already had COVID-19.

“This is the most concerning variant we’ve seen since delta,” Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, told The Washington Post. “It’s going to take a really high bar for something to take over for delta, and we don’t know whether this is going to do it.”

I’m sure gonna try!

Still, there’s a lot you all don’t know about me yet.

The World Health Organization—a collection of hateful antivirus jerks—said in a statement: “There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with omicron are different from those from other variants.”

And your president host, Joe Biden, on Monday called me a “cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”

We’ll see about that. Your vaccine manufacturers—or as I like to call them, “virus murderers”—are hard at work studying whether I’ll be able to evade vaccine protections. I refuse to comment on the grounds that I want to enter healthy cells in your body and use the machinery in those cells to make more of me.

In the days and weeks to come, you’ll undoubtedly hear endless rhetoric from wimps who think a new development in a seemingly unending pandemic is “bad.” They’ll say more people need to get vaccinated and humans need to take the simple steps of wearing face masks indoors in public spaces and practicing social distancing and blah, blah, blah, blah ...

And then you’ll hear from supersmart geniuses on the other side—people who have significant credentials like “podcast host” or “Twitter provocateur” or “possible GOP presidential contender”—who will tell you that wearing a mask is a form of torture and vaccines are just a way for Satan-in-liquid-form to enter your body and turn you into a squishy liberal.

You’ll definitely want to listen to the Satan-juice folks, and I say that objectively and not as a coronavirus variant whose goal is to deliver my genome into your cells so it can replicate over and over and over again.

I promise.

Now c’mon, friends. Pull those masks down and welcome me into your lives.

— Omicron, aka Steve


Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune

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