Delta Airlines has implemented a controversial policy that expects unvaccinated employees to pay an extra $200 a month as part of their healthcare plan as of November.

While the policy likely came as a shock to the unvaccinated among their workforce, one small detail stood out to Twitter users. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the airline avoided using the commonly-used term, ‘Delta’ to describe the Covid strain and instead, opted for the ‘B.1.617.2 variant’, the medical name.

“Delta calling it ‘the B.1.617.2 variant’ makes my morning,” one Twitter user wrote, in a tweet that has racked up 3,000 likes.

The full statement explained that as of Nov 1, unvaccinated employees enrolled in Delta’s account-based healthcare plan will be subject to a $200 monthly subcharge. The airline explained that the average hospital stay for COVID-19 patients “has cost Delta $40,000 per person.”

“This subcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company.

“In recent weeks since the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta employees who have been hospitalised with COVID were not fully vaccinated”, they added.

CEO Ed Bastian said that 75 per cent of Delta employees are vaccinated, which is up 3 per cent since July. The virus “means we need to get many more of our people vaccinated, and as close to 100 per cent as possible”, he said.

As of September 12, Delta unvaccinated employees will be required to take weekly COVID tests. They will also have to wear masks indoors with immediate effect.

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