FACT CHECK: Did The World Economic Forum Report On The Omicron Variant In July?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A tweet with over 3,900 retweets claims the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported on the omicron variant back in July.

The same claim has also been shared on Facebook.

Verdict: False

Information about the omicron variant was added to the WEF article in late November. The original article, published in July, did not have any information about it.

Fact Check:

The World Health Organization designated omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a “variant of concern” on Nov. 26. The new strain, also known as variant B.1.1.529, was first reported by South African scientists and has since been detected in over a dozen other countries, according to CNN.

Social media users have been claiming that the WEF has known about the existence of the omicron variant for months, pointing to a WEF article that was first published in July as supposed evidence. The title of the WEF article is “Explainer: This is how scientists detect new variants of COVID-19.”

However, the WEF article did not contain any information about the omicron variant in July. Check Your Fact reviewed archived versions of the article and did not find any references to the omicron variant in it prior to Nov. 26. “Omicron” and “B.1.1.529” do not appear anywhere in archived versions available on the Wayback Machine dating July 12, July 13, July 14 and Sept. 22, keyword searches revealed.

The article includes an italicized note at the top that reads: “This article was originally published on 12 July 2021. It was updated on 26 November to include information about the new strain, B.1.1.529.” (RELATED: Does This Video Show A Vaccinated Man Collapsing While Talking To Prince Charles?)

Some countries, including the U.S., France and Indonesia, have placed travel restrictions on certain African countries in response to the omicron variant, according to CNN.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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