2 Filipino Babies Named Covid?

At least two babies in the Philippines may have been named Covid after Covid-19, the acronym for “coronavirus disease 2019.”

Neither name — “Covid Rose” or “Covid Bryant” — has been confirmed yet, but both were among the top Twitter trends in the Philippines last week. (It was said that Covid Bryant’s middle name was inspired by late NBA legend Kobe Bryant.)

Thoughts on “Covid” as a name?

Update: I wrote this post a couple of days ago, and since then a third baby in the Philippines has allegedly gotten a virus-inspired name: Coviduvidapdap. It’s a portmanteau of Covid and “dubi dubi dap dap” [vid] — nonsense words from the lyrics of the novelty song “Beep Beep Beep Ang Sabi Ng Jeep” by Filipino singer Willie Revillame.

Sources: Future ‘quaranteens’? Covid Bryant and Covid Rose trend as Filipino newborns supposedly named after virus (from ABS-CBN — also a name!), From ‘Coronnials’ to ‘quaranteens’: Internet users predict future of kids named after COVID-19

Cuban Baby Named Barbara Benita

Andres holding Barbara Benita
(Bettmann / Getty Images)

A few days ago we talked about Cuban refugee babies whose names were associated with the Mariel boatlift, but here’s an even earlier Cuban refugee baby name I haven’t written about yet: Barbara Benita.

She was born in a small open boat fleeing from Cuba in late April, 1964. Her father, a farmer named Andres Mejias, was quoted as saying: “I never dreamed of delivering a baby, especially at sea running from my country.”

The family was picked up by H.M.S Tartar about 13 miles south of Marathon, Florida.

The baby was named Barbara for the Cuban saint of thunder because it was rainy during the night, and Benita for the British naval officer on the Tartar who first spotted the refugee group. Mr. Mejias said he knew only that the officer’s first name was Ben.

In the Afro-Cuban religion of SanterĂ­a, Saint Barbara was syncretized with Shango, the Yoruban god of thunder and lightning, fire, and war.

Source: “Cuban Refugee Gives Birth in Small Boat at Sea.” Toledo Blade 30 Apr. 1964: 1.

Babies Named for the Mariel Boatlift

I mentioned the Mariel boatlift in last week’s post on Margaux Hemingway. It was the mass emigration of 125,000 Cubans to Florida in 1980 (from April to October). All the boats leaving Cuba sailed from the port of Mariel — the port closest to the United States.

So far I’ve discovered two Cuban refugee babies who were given names related to the event. The first was a baby girl named Reina Mariela:

A steady stream of refugee boats returning from the Cuban port of Mariel swelled the 35-day total past 71,000 Friday, including the youngest refugee, Reina Mariela Miranda. She was born about eight hours before the 80-foot “Reef Queen,” packed with 308 refugees, docked here early Friday, said Dr. Armando Cruz. The baby’s name means Queen Mariel.

The second was a baby boy named Valiant:

During the 1980 Mariel Boatlift, James M. Loy commanded the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Valiant and rescued a Cuban woman clinging to a sinking piece of Styrofoam. She soon gave birth on the ship’s deck and was evacuated to a hospital. Days later, he went to see her at the hospital. She had named the baby Valiant.


Image by Raymond L. Blazevic under CC BY 2.0.