OPINION: COVID-19 misinformation is a huge concern

Brady Cicero, Business Editor

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a whirlwind of misinformation surrounding COVID-19 and the entire pandemic as a whole. But in recent days, with the emergence of the Omicron variant, misinformation and fear mongering have come to an all-time high. 

In early January of 2022, online users were panicking over something called “flurona.” Major news companies contributed to the spread of panic when they ran stories on people “catching flurona.” But as with most things people panic about too soon, it is not real. “Flurona” is not a real virus. There is no possible way for a Sars-Cov-2 virus and an Influenza virus to combine into one hybrid virus. Co-infections of the Sars-Cov-2 virus and the Influenza virus are possible though. This simply means that a person has COVID-19 and the flu at the same time, because they caught both viruses (TIME).

Having both COVID-19 and Influenza isn’t a need for concern. Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist and associate professor of population health and disease prevention at the University of California, said that the body is cut out for this.

The human immune system can create antibodies for multiple pathogens simultaneously,” Noymer stated (The Irish Times).

Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, also expressed that these co-infections are to be expected, especially for children.

“It’s not that surprising to most of the people who work in pediatrics,” shared Esper. “We see co-infections all the time” (The Irish Times).

Another misinformation avalanche has also made its way around the internet in the past few weeks. “Deltacron” was the so-called “new variant” that combines the Delta and Omicron variants. But alas, “Deltacron” does not exist. Rumors of “Deltacron” first appeared when a researcher in Cyprus thought they discovered a new Sars-Cov-2 variant that combined both the Delta and Omicron variants. However, this was simply a contamination error in the sequencing of Delta specimens. (Science Alert)

Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London said in a tweet last weekend that “Deltacron” being reported by big media outlets is not real. 

“The Cypriot ‘Deltacron’ sequences reported by several large media outlets look to be quite clearly contaminated,” Peacock said. (Economic Times)

Overall, misinformation in the media is a huge concern that requires all individuals to be on the lookout for accurate information. It is extremely important in order to ensure one’s safety in times where COVID-19 is a giant issue.