Social media has been circulating an unfounded warning for months about a reported “new COVID-Omicron XBB variant” – a new coronavirus strain that has been spreading internationally since early 2020. But do these worrying assertions have any basis in reality? In this in-depth analysis of the viral message, we will uncover every update on the fake COVID-19 variations circulating from last August 2023 to now. Let’s get started!
Our Verdict: False
The message, framed as official advice from health professionals, makes several assertions regarding the variation’s symptoms and effects, including that it is “five times more toxic” than the coronavirus Delta variant (1) and has a greater fatality rate. The message was shared by users on websites including Facebook (2), TikTok (3), LinkedIn (4), YouTube (5), and X (6) (formerly Twitter).
What The Viral Message Says?
The viral message is commonly said, with the potential of some minor phrasing modifications from one post to the next, including:
New Covid Health Advisory:
Everyone is advised to wear a mask because the new COVID-Omicron XBB variant coronavirus is different, deadly, and not easily detected properly:-
Symptoms of the XBB virus are as follows:
1. No cough.
2. No fever.
There will only be:
3. Joint pain.
5. Neck pain.
6. Upper back pain.
8. General loss of appetite.
XBB is 5 times more toxic than the Delta variant and has a higher mortality rate. It takes a shorter time for the condition to reach extreme severity, and sometimes, there are no obvious symptoms.
This strain of the virus is not found in the nasopharyngeal region, and it directly affects the lungs, the “windows,” for a relatively short period of time. Nasal swab tests are generally negative for COVID-Omicron XBB, and false-negative cases of nasopharyngeal tests are increasing. This means the virus can spread in the community and directly infect the lungs, leading to viral pneumonia, which in turn causes acute respiratory stress.
XBB has become highly contagious, highly virulent, and lethal. Avoid crowded places, keep a distance of 1.5m even in open spaces, wear a double-layer mask, wear a suitable mask, and wash hands frequently even when everyone is asymptomatic (no coughing or sneezing).
Don’t keep this information to yourself. Share as much as possible with other relatives and friends.
Separating Facts From Fiction
The majority of the data in the viral message is either false or deceptive. Reputable news sources refuted the assertions about the variant’s toxicity and greater fatality rate, including Reuters (7) and Agence France-Presse (AFP) (8). Dr. Thira Woratanarat, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, claims that there were no appreciable changes in clinical severity in connection to the XBB variation. Contrary to what the message said, it was discovered to cause a minor sickness in India.
While some of the symptoms mentioned in the message, such as joint pain and pneumonia, are real reported effects of the XBB variant or its subvariant, XBB.1.5, other symptoms mentioned in the message, such as the absence of cough and fever, are not accurate.
The widely shared COVID-Omicron XBB Variant warning on social media is mostly based on false information. Reputable authorities have refuted its assertions that the alleged variation had enhanced toxicity and a higher fatality rate. It partially evades nasal swab testing, contrary to certain claims. The message did not come from recognized health groups, and its origins are still unknown. There were several COVID-19 strains in circulation as of September 2023, with the EG.5 subvariant predominating, although no noticeable worsening of the disease was noted. The continued fight against the virus nevertheless relied heavily on vaccinations and advised safeguards.
- 5 Things To Know About the Delta Variant https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/5-things-to-know-delta-variant-covid
- Fact Check-No evidence COVID-19 Omicron XBB variant has higher mortality rate, or is five times more ‘toxic,’ than Delta https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-covid-xbb/fact-check-no-evidence-covid-19-omicron-xbb-variant-has-higher-mortality-rate-or-is-five-times-more-toxic-than-delta-idUSL1N3271RH
- Fabricated ‘UN warning’ rehashes misleading claims about Covid XBB subvariant https://factcheck.afp.com/doc.afp.com.336U7ND