Viral image that shows the “Release Dates” of COVID-19 variants is fake.
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A table that shows a list of Covid-19 variants along with their expected release dates is taking viral rounds on different social networking platforms. The table listed out the names of the variants and their “release” dates. The claim supposes that the variants was a tool to fool people. However, it has been found that the claim is false and none of the organizations mentioned in the viral screenshot has issued a list of upcoming Covid-19 variants yet. Moreover, the dates mentioned in the post are totally contradictory to the actual dates when the virus came into existence. The caption of the viral post read, “These are the PLANNED COVID-19 VARIANTS – just look at the dates when they will be “released” to the media.” The table also included two other columns titled, “cepa/variante” and “lanzamiento” which in Spanish means “variant” and “launched” respectively. Several social media users used the same caption to share the viral image.
— Val Maria Nyholm PS (@Val_QOS) July 28, 2021
No such dates were announced by WHO
On the 31st of May 2021, the World Health Organization ( WHO ) announced that it will be labelling the new viral strains after letters of the Greek alphabet. Since long, the scientists have also been studying the different mutations and possible variants from the beginning of the pandemic.
The variants emerging from the United Kingdom and South Africa were dubbed as Alpha and Beta variant, while the one that was first found in India was named as the Delta variant.
The websites of the organizations whose logos were a part of the viral screenshot – World Economic Forum (WEF), WHO, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Johns Hopkins University. None of the organisation had put out any such list of future variants. According to the WHO, 10 variants have been identified so far as variants of interest and variants of concern. According to the viral list, the delta variant was “released” in June 2021 whereas in reality, the variant was first found in October 2020. It was designated a variant of concern (VOC) by the WHO on 11 May. The viral list failed to mention the previous variants like Alpha and Beta.
The list in the viral post also neglects the very fact that variants are naturally caused by random mutations and not created by humans. Also, mutations occur when the virus replicates and makes its own replica. In most cases, these replications are flawless. Sometimes, there are small changes that occur, and that is known as are called mutations. These mutations combine together to form a variant. Additionally, predicting new and emerging variants is again a very difficult and uncertain process.
The viral post that claims that WHO, John Hopkins University, WEF, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have jointly prepared a list of Covid-19 variants on scheduled dates, that the Delta variant was ‘released’ in June 2021, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, and Theta variants would be ‘released’ between July 2021 to January 2022 and that Covid-19 vaccines has the potential to install an operating system in our bodies is greatly false. Thus, the motive behind the spread of this news can be attributed with the sinister motive of creating panic among the masses and discouraging them from vaccinated. Thus, it is very evident that the list of COVID-19 variants and their future release dates that was shared virally by social media users is false and neither was it released by any of the institutes that it was attributed to nor is there any authentic source attached with the details.