The COVID-19 pandemic continues to make headlines with several new variants and sub-variants, and social media feeds are often inundated with such content. This is our investigation of viral misinformation on social media about XBB, a sub-variant of Omicron.
Social Media Posts
The text message with the title “News from Singapore” spreads on social networks with a description of the Omicron XBB sub-variant. While listing some of the symptoms of this variant, the long narrative also claimed that Covid19-Omicron XBB had become highly infectious, highly toxic, and deadly. The full message is seen below.
TAKE CARE AND USE A PROTECTIVE MASK IN PUBLIC PLACES!
Make sure to wear a mask as the new variant of the coronavirus COVID-Omicron XB is different, deadly and not easy to detect: –
The symptoms of the new COVID-Omicron XBB virus are as follows:-
1. Do not cough.
2. No fever.
There will be many:-
3. Joint pain.
5. Neck pain.
6. Upper back pain.
8. Generally no appetite.
Of course, COVID-Omicron XBB is five times more toxic than the Delta variant and has a higher fatality rate than Delta.
It takes less time for the condition to reach extreme severity, sometimes without noticeable symptoms.
Let’s be more careful!
This strain of virus is not present in the nasopharyngeal area and directly affects the lungs, the “window”, in a relatively short time.
Several patients diagnosed with Covid Omicron XBB were eventually classified as having no fever or pain, but radiographs showed mild chest pneumonia.
Nasal swab tests are typically negative for COVID-Omicron XBB, and false-negative cases for nasopharyngeal tests are increasing.
This means that the virus can spread in the community and infect the lungs directly, leading to viral pneumonia, which in turn leads to acute respiratory stress.
This explains why Covid-Omicron XBB has become highly infectious, highly toxic, and deadly.
Please note to avoid crowded places, even in open areas, to maintain a distance of 1.5 meters, wear a double mask, wear a suitable mask and wash your hands frequently when you are asymptomatic (no coughing or sneezing).
This Covid Omicron *”WAVE”* is deadlier than the first wave of COVID-19. So we have to be very careful and take all kinds of reinforced Coronavirus prevention measures.
Also, be attentive to communication with your friends and family.
Don’t keep this information to yourself, share as much as you can with other family and friends, especially your family and friends.
Those posts went viral on Facebook.
Such posts are also viral on WhatsApp.
Before examining the claims made in viral posts, we decided to find out about XBB, which has been in the news recently.
What is XBB?
Technically, XBB is not a direct Covid 19 variant, and is a sub-variant of the Covid 19 variant: Omicron. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) definition, XBB is a recombinant of Omicron subvariants BA.2.10.1 and BA.2.75. You can read more details about it. here. Archived.
And there is controversy over whether XBB subvariants can be detected from general RAT and PCR tests. While some experts in the field claim that it can be determined from tests like the RAT as seen here | ArchivedFew are skeptical of these results. A group of experts from the Philippine Department of Health warns that it is difficult to identify XBB from the usual tests. The CNN article on this can be read here. Archived.
Symptoms and severity of XBB
The symptoms of XBB are similar to other subvariants of the Omicron covid-19 variants. While fever and cold may also be seen, symptoms are generally mild, according to the Indonesian government spokesperson for the Covid-19 pandemic. And the severity of the infection is low. But the transmission rate of the virus is high. A detailed report on this can be read here. Archived.
What does the WHO say?
According to the WHO, current data do not suggest substantial differences in disease severity for XBB infections. However, there is preliminary evidence pointing to a higher risk of reinfection than other circulating Omicron sublineages. Reinfection cases were mainly limited to those with initial infection in the pre-Omicron period. The WHO report can be read here. Archived.
Ministry of Health – Malaysia
The Malaysian Ministry of Health issued a statement refuting viral social claims. They state that these misleading claims made without scientific evidence could cause panic and confusion among the public and advise against sharing such posts with unverified facts. Archived.
In addition, the Malaysian Ministry of Health is also very grateful and grateful to the people who still wear face masks when they leave the house to take care of their health and states that the vaccines still provide reasonable protection against COVID-19 and urges to get the reinforcement. dose for those who qualify especially for high-risk groups, as seen here.
Can XBB bypass the nasal cavity and attack the lungs?
“The SARS-CoV-2 virus is immobile and travels through droplets and aerosols that we breathe. It is not a self-guided missile that seeks out a particular target. Like the air we breathe through the nasopharynx before it reaches the lungs, that’s where most of the virus ends up, and that’s why we swab the nasopharynx for COVID-19.” says medical doctor Adrian Wong in his writings. The article can be read here. Archived.
In a study published a few months ago in the journal Microbiology Spectrum, researchers at Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine confirmed that testing samples from inside the nostril (the kind used in home tests) is the way more effective way to test and track COVID -19. The study can be read here. Archived
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Based on our research, it is clear that there is not enough supporting scientific evidence to suggest that the XBB subvariant of the Omicron COVID-19 variant is fatal, as social media posts claim.
Current data do not suggest substantial differences in disease severity for XBB infections; however, the XBB subvariant is highly transmissible, and scientists continue to study the effects of this new Omicron subvariant.
Title:Omicron’s XBB sub-variant is highly transmissible but not deadly as viral posts claim!
Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha