Health Ministry: WhatsApp message about new covid19 variant is fake

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Image courtesy CDC.

THE Health Ministry has said that it never issued any statement or press releases declaring the presence a new covid19 variant in TT.

On Friday, a viral WhatsApp message claimed the ministry said there is a new strain of the virus called the Omicron-XBB variant.

It advised people to wear masks since this variant is “different, deadly and not easy to detect correctly.”

It claimed coughing and fever are not symptoms of this variant, but joint pain, pneumonia, among other things.

It added that it’s five times “more virulent” than the delta variant and has a higher mortality rate.

“It takes less time for the condition to reach extreme severity and sometimes there are no obvious symptoms. Let’s be more careful.

“This strain of the virus is not found in the nasopharyngeal region and directly affects the lungs for a relatively short period of time.”

In a press release on Friday, the Health Ministry said the message was fake news.

“All advisories regarding public health, including covid19, will be issued by the Ministry of Health and can be found on its website and official social media pages.

“The public is reminded to share information from official and trusted sources and to refrain from sharing false or misleading information or images.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) on its website says the XBB variant has a global prevalence of 1.3 per cent and has been detected in 35 countries.

“There has been a broad increase in prevalence of XBB in regional genomic surveillance, but it has not yet been consistently associated with an increase in new infections.

“While further studies are needed, the current data do not suggest there are substantial differences in disease severity for XBB infections. There is, however, early evidence pointing at a higher reinfection risk, as compared to other circulating Omicron sublineages.”