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.
President Joe Biden restricted travel from eight African nations on Nov. 26 to slow the spread of the omicron variant. Conservative commentators have misleadingly cited a Biden tweet from last year to claim he was critical of “the same travel ban” implemented by then-President Donald Trump. But that tweet was about a Trump immigration order directed at predominantly Muslim countries.
Ghislaine Maxwell, who is charged with assisting accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, is scheduled to go on trial on Nov. 29. Social media posts are circulating a photo that falsely claims to show Chief Justice John Roberts in an affectionate pose with Maxwell. The photo actually shows Maxwell with a French modeling agent facing sexual assault charges.
A vaccination can’t be reversed through any “detox” process, medical experts say. Yet, a social media post is spreading the false claim that a bath with borax can “get rid” of a COVID-19 vaccine. The bath may remove some water from the body, but not the molecules associated with vaccines, a toxicologist told us.
With the release of its pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer switched the buffer used in its formulation to increase the stability of the product, allowing it to remain at refrigerator temperatures for longer. The Food and Drug Administration OK’d the change, which is also being made to some doses for teens and adults. Social media posts, however, misleadingly suggest that the ingredient swap is dangerous or was added to prevent heart attacks in children.
Responding to a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order on Oct. 31 allowing hospitals that are at or near capacity to transfer or stop admitting patients. Social media posts falsely claimed the order says hospitals can “refuse to treat the unvaccinated.” But the order doesn’t mention vaccination status.