State of Disaster

Stock image of a coronavirus cell – Photo: Pixabay

‘Ignore the fearmongers’: New COVID variant concerns crushed by experts

B.1.640.2, an alleged new variant identified in France, sent some alarmists into overdrive this week. But there’s no need to worry…

State of Disaster

Stock image of a coronavirus cell – Photo: Pixabay

New year, new variant? Apparently not. Scientific experts – including our very own Tulio de Oliveira – have torn the so-called ‘COVID fearmongers’ to shreads this week, after the emergence of a new virus mutation was logged in France.

Nothing to fear over ‘new variant’ linked to France

Unfortunately, a discourse that required calm and rational analysis was hijacked by some hysterical commentators instead. Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, who has made a name for himself as an extreme pessimist throughout the pandemic, got his facts wrong once more this week.

The zero-COVID fantasist was all too keen to alert his 671 000 followers that a new ‘variant from hell’ – named B.1.640.2 – has been traced to a region of Southern France. He claimed it had sent cases rocketing in the region, and was responsible for overwhelming ICU beds there.

Alarmist doctor ‘taught a lesson’ by fellow scientists

However, slight problem on that front: It’s just not true. No samples of B.1.640.2 have been collected in this region for a month. The variant itself PRE-DATES Omicron, so the idea of it resurfacing at this point – when Omicron is dominant – lacks a logical basis.

EFD’s humbling was cemented earlier on Tuesday, when our very own Tulio de Oliveria – the Director of the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI) – rubbished claims that this not-so-new variant was something to worry about.

“Please no panic. The B.1.640 and .2 were initially flagged in Oct last year and discussed at WHO, before Omicron. There are only 400 genomes of this lineage, whereas >120,000 of Omicron and the B.1.640.X has not over-competed Delta anywhere – @DrEricDing please check some data!”

Tulio de Oliveira

Close, but no Omicron: New variant B.1.640.2 branded a dud

For some people, it seems Omicron wasn’t deadly enough for their liking. Professor Francois Balloux of University College London also decided to take ‘Dr. Doom’ back to school, after he dismantled any remaining fears over B.1.640.2 on his Twitter feed.

  • For now, the purported ‘new variant’ doesn’t demand another second of our attention.