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Fact Check : Omicron Variant Warning By RSA Doctors Group!

The warning about the new Omicron COVID-19 variant by the RSA Doctors Group has gone viral!

Take a look at the viral message, and find out what the FACTS really are!


Viral Warning : Omicron Variant Warning By RSA Doctors Group!

This warning on the new Omicron COVID-19 variant by the RSA Doctors Group has gone viral on WhatsApp and Facebook.

It’s quite long, so just skip to the next section for the facts!

New variant B.1.1.529 is named as OMICRON

From A Doctors’ group RSA

The virus is back, this time with more energy, tactics and camouflage.
We don’t cough, No fever, it’s joint pain, weakness,
Loss of appetite and Covid pneumonia!


Omicron Variant Warning By RSA Doctors Group Is FAKE NEWS!

Unsurprisingly, this is yet another COVID-19 fake story that is being attributed to the “RSA Doctors Group” to make it more believable.

Here are the facts…

Fact #1 : It’s Recycled Delta Variant Fake News

This viral message is recycled fake news that was earlier claimed to be of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

In one example, it was falsely attributed to the Singaporean doctor, Dr. Leong Hoe Nam.

It was fake news then, and it is fake news now.

Read more : Fake COVID-19 Warning Attributed To Dr. Leong Hoe Nam

Fact #2 : Viral Message Originated From Nigeria

The viral message is a modification of the opinions of Dr. Taiwo Obembe – a public health specialist at the College of Medicine of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

It has nothing to do with the unnamed “RSA Doctors Group”. RSA refers to the Republic of South Africa.

Fact #5 : Omicron Variant Appears To Be Mild

While there are signs that the Omicron variant is more transmissible, that has NOT been confirmed.

However, there are NO SIGNS that the Omicron variant causes more severe disease, or is more fatal.

In fact, the South African doctor who first alerted the authorities to the new variant, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, said that people with the Omicron variant had “unusual but mild symptoms“, compared to other COVID-19 patients.

Fact #3 : COVID-19 Variants Do Not Skip The Nasopharynx

The Delta variant has “greater affinity” for lung tissues, which means it will more readily attach to and “invade” lung tissues. It is unknown if the Omicron variant has the same affinity for lung tissues.

However, even if that’s the case – it does not mean the SARS-CoV-2 virus of any variant actually skips the nasopharynx as the viral message claims.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is immobile, and travels through droplets and aerosols that we breathe in. It is not a homing missile that goes in search of a particular target.

As the air we breathe passes through the nasopharynx before it reaches the lungs, that is where most of the virus ends up, and that is why we swab the nasopharynx to detect COVID-19.

Fact #4 : Nasopharyngeal Swab Still Picks Up Omicron Variant

The current standard of obtaining a nasopharyngeal swab to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus still works for the Omicron variant.

In fact, genomic testing to confirm the Omicron variant is performed on nasopharyngeal swab samples.

As explained in Fact #3, the coronavirus is carried by droplets and aerosols that has to pass through the nasopharynx before reaching the lungs.

Unless the patient breathes exclusively through the mouth, the nasopharynx is the best place to obtain samples of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Fact #5 : Current PCR Tests Can Detect Omicron + Delta

Dr. Obembe’s comments were very controversial as scientists around the world confirmed that both the gold standard rt-PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests worked well in detecting the Delta variant.

The rt-PCR test continues to detect the Omicron variant infections, and is how the new Omicron variant patients are being detected.

While Rapid Antigen Test may deliver more false negative results, it is rare for the “gold standard” rt-PCR test to deliver a false negative result, and extremely rare to deliver two false negative results.

Studies are underway to determine if rapid antigen detection tests are impacted in any way by the Omicron variant.

Read more : PCR Test Cannot Differentiate COVID-19 vs. Influenza?

Fact #6 : COVID-19 Precautions Apply To All Variants

The COVID-19 precautions mentioned in the viral message are NOT unique to the Omicron variant. They apply to all COVID-19 variants.

Please SHARE this fact check article with your family and friends, so they won’t get fooled by COVID-19 fake news!


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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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