The COVID-19 vaccines administered in the U.S. are not known to increase the risk of heart attack. But social media posts are misinterpreting an abstract in an American Heart Association journal as proof that the vaccine kills. The publisher later issued an “expression of concern” about the abstract “until a suitable correction can be published.”
It’s not known yet whether the omicron variant causes more or less severe COVID-19 than the delta variant, although some preliminary indications suggest omicron infections might be milder. A Facebook post nevertheless claims, without evidence, that the “toxicity” of omicron is 5 times higher than delta and that its mortality rate is higher.
In a Dec. 8 town hall meeting, Sen. Ron Johnson may have left a misleading impression in saying “standard gargle, mouthwash, has been proven to kill the coronavirus.” In the laboratory, some mouthwashes have been shown to block infectivity or suppress SARS-CoV-2, but studies involving people using mouthwash are not conclusive. Researchers are continuing to study the matter.
Scientists are still learning about the omicron variant’s ability to spread or cause severe illness and the effectiveness of the current COVID-19 vaccines in fighting it. But a Facebook post misleadingly claims to list seven “symptoms” of the new variant, then suggests they are caused by the vaccines. The list actually refers to complications of COVID-19. Two of the listed conditions are rare adverse events associated with the vaccines.
U.S. border officials reported seizing 10,856 pounds of fentanyl being smuggled across the southwest border in fiscal year 2021, a 132% increase from fiscal year 2020. Some Republicans have misleadingly suggested that the amount of drugs seized is a negative development attributable to the immigration policies of President Joe Biden.
On Nov. 24, South Africa told the World Health Organization that amid a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, it had identified a new variant — later named omicron — with a high number of mutations, raising concerns that it could spread more easily than other variants of the coronavirus. We’ll go through what we know so far about omicron.