A Belgian death metal band called Omicron has said that it will not change its name, despite sharing the moniker with the new COVID variant.
The four-piece, who have experienced a surge in publicity since the emergence of the latest coronavirus strain, told Metro that they had seen a 1,700% increase in listens on Spotify, as well as a considerable rise in views on their YouTube.
“Changing the name crossed my mind for one second, but our band isn’t built around the variant,” lead guitarist Philippe Delhaute told Sky News. “I hope we can let people know that it is something different and simply a coincidence.”
Like the World Health Organisation, the band chose the name from the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. The global health body named Omicron a variant of interest in recent months, though not much is yet known about the virility of the strain.
Omicron the band are well aware of the virus and its connotations: “COVID is a dangerous virus. We all know people that died of it. For example, somebody in my family died of it,” Ignace Casier noted in an interview with NPR.
Similar publicity was faced by Irish band The Coronas, at the beginning of the first UK lockdown in March 2020.
At the time, they told NME that their name was “unfortunate” but would also not consider changing it. “We’ve been around for five albums and this is a new disease,” they said.
The new variant has now resulted in UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson moving England to a Plan B for tackling the virus.
Under the new rules, face masks will become compulsory in most public indoor venues, other than hospitality.
The NHS Covid Pass will be also be mandatory for live events, using a negative test or full vaccination via the NHS Covid Pass.
People will also be asked to work from home where possible.