COVID-19 Related Baby Names Americans gave to Babies in 2021
Friday, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released its list of the most popular names of babies born in the United States last year. The team at Listophile analyzed the data to reveal some fascinating COVID-19 related baby names — reflecting both the pandemic and Coronavirus.
These are legit baby names that American parents gave to their kids in 2021 — we didn’t make these up!
The COVID-19 Baby Names Parents Embraced
Although pandemic fatigue had already set in for most of us in 2020, a couple in India famously named their boy and girl twins Covid and Corona.
Meanwhile in America, mom’s were giving birth in hospitals wearing masks, and many dad’s couldn’t be present for the arrival of their new bundles of joy. America’s birth rate continued to decline as couples were intentionally delaying their decision to have children.
Last year, most parents were noticeably steering clear of names that sounded too close to Covid-related terms, or reminded us a little too much of the pandemic.
However, this wasn’t true of all parents — some parents in the U.S. were embracing COVID-19 baby names! Let’s jump right in!
Delta — as in the Covid variant B.1.617.2. The name Delta, a popular name for girls in the South, trended down another 9% last year. This was likely due to it’s association with the Delta variant. Despite what was happening in the world around them, 105 couples choose to name their daughter Delta last year. Five boys were also given the name Delta, despite the name not appearing in the male SSA rankings the year before.
Cora — as in Corona. This pretty girl’s name had been rising up the baby name ranks since the year 2000, however it began trending down in 2020 after the pandemic hit. Cora trended down again last year, but this time by only 1%.
Rona — as in Corona. Rona is another name sounding similar enough to Corona for many parents to reject it. Yet, 5 parents named their daughter Rona last year. The name, however trended down 71%. Perhaps the next daring couple will name their twin girls ‘Cora’ and ‘Rona’?
Alpha — as in the Covid variant B.1.1.7. The baby name Alpha was expected to trend down last year – just as the name Delta did the year before. While the name did trend down for boys, it trended up 43% for girls. Ten girls were given the name Alpha last year.
Cove — as in Covid. The starting prefix of Cove is the same as Covid. This name was expected this to tank in 2021 – but it didn’t. The unisex name was given to 72 boys last year, rising 4% in popularity and given to 40 girls – representing a staggering 48% increase in popularity.
Sani as in hand sanitizer. We slathered our hands in this stuff in 2021. Although the girl name Sani trended down 17%, it was given to 10 girls last year.
Johnson — as in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Last names as first names for boys trended up in 2021, but Johnson – sounding too close to the single-shot J&J vaccine — wasn’t one of them. The name Johnson was given to 46 boys in America last year.
Omi — as in the Omicron Covid variant B.1.1.529. Omi is of Indian origin, meaning ‘Lord of the Om’. This is another baby name scientists marred with their variant naming. Omi was given to 8 boys and 10 girls in America last year.
Halo — as in HALO – the saliva-based PCR test. Halo was another unisex name trending last year. HALO is rapid PCR test that was available at many airports because of the low cost and fast results. The baby name Halo was given to 384 girls last year – an increase of 42% in popularity, as well as 45 boys – an increase of 55% year over year.
Demi — as in pandemic. The popular girl name Demi was given to 838 girls last year, as well as 6 boys. Perhaps Demi sounded too much like ‘pandemic’ — because it trended down 8%.
Covey — as in Covid. Covey sounds like a cute variation of Cove — but also Covid. Six girls were named Covey last year, decreasing from 11 the year before. However the name Covey was trending upwards for boys. Covey was given to 13 boys in 2021, despite the name not appearing in the male SSA rankings the year before.
Trace — as in contact tracing. If you were unlucky enough to get a ping on your smartphone, warning you that you may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 – you’ve been contract traced. The name Trace was given to 345 boys last year — a 10% rise in popularity.
Wave — as in a wave of infection. With changing seasons, mutations of Coronavirus and R0 number being so difficult to contain — the waves kept coming. Seven boys were given the name Wave last year, up 17% from the year before.
Dovid is a Hebrew name meaning ‘Beloved’. Dovid also rhymes with Covid. This boy names ranks number 1,284 on the most popular boy names in the U.S. It also trended up 14% last year after 146 boys were named Dovid.
Spike — as in a sudden surge of Covid. The boy name Spike didn’t appear in the 2020 rankings, yet 5 sets of parents gave the name Spike to their sons in 2021.
Anthony — as in Dr. Anthony Fauci. Dr Fauci was rarely out of the news last year. The Chief Medical Advisor to the President gained worldwide fame since the start of the pandemic. The name Anthony was given to 6,741 boys last year, down 3% from the year before.
Loch is a Scottish word for ‘lake’. It also sounds similar to ‘lock’ — as in ‘lock down’. But wait, there’s more… Check out the next baby name on our list…
18. Lochlann & Lochlan
Lochlann & Lochlan — as in lockdown. These Gaelic names mean ‘land of lakes’ or ‘land of swamps’. They also sound very close to the familiar term, lockdown. Lochlan was given to 309 boys and 10 girls last year; Lochlann was given to 22 boys.
Doc — as in Doctor. The year ‘telehealth’ exploded — and many of us were hoping not to see a Doctor. If you had to see a Doctor, it was likely bad news. Then you had to wait in your car in the parking lot. Thirty six boys in America were named Doc last year – up 71% from the year before.
Novel — as in a ‘novel virus strain’. Novel is also another name for a fictional book — yet the term was more frequently used last year to describe variants of the Coronavirus. The name was given 6 baby boys in 2020, yet it was completely absent from the 2021 rankings.
There was one baby name worth celebrating, however! The name Ozlem was given to 11 girls last year, rising in popularity by 38%. Hopefully parents were sending a nod to the doctor who helped create the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Özlem Türec!