Monday, January 17

Is omikron just a cold virus?

Nine out of ten Norwegians say they have great confidence in the work researchers do. This is good news in the fight against conspiracy theories, writes Nina Kristiansen.

The conspiracy theories about the new virus variant are gaining momentum.

The knowledge is Aftenposten’s commitment to research and science, where researchers and professionals from all over the country contribute articles.

In Uviten, Nina Kristiansen, Marit M. Simonsen, Ole Jacob Madsen and Simen Gaure write every week about what they believe is bad research, embarrassing communication, ignorant political proposals and pure cheating.

The omicron variant of the coronavirus appears to infect easily and extensively. Again, we are in a situation where researchers know little. They still have a lot of knowledge about viruses. Unlike last spring, we have now also gained more knowledge about the coronavirus, but much is unknown and untested about the omicron variant.

It provides a fertile ground for conspiracy theories, which spread faster than the virus itself.

Witnesses to the truth in conspiracy theories

Some claim that omicron is more dangerous and deadly than previous virus variants. Others claim that omicron is just a cold virus that some would have us believe is a corona mutation. Others have found that the word omicron means media control, that it is Greek for the end of the world or military code for world control.

And scientists are on the galley. Some scholars involuntarily end up as witnesses to the truth in conspiracy theories.

And study from Nference, a company that does biomedical analyzes, showed that omicron contained a bit of a common cold virus. The results are preliminary and not published in a scientific journal. They nevertheless become facts in conspiracy theories that the pandemic does not exist and that the omicron is completely harmless – despite the fact that the researchers from Nference protesting.

Good spread in social media

Other researchers and professionals volunteer. Virologist Geert Vanden Bossche from Belgium has claimed that vaccination and infection control measures will lead to the virus running wild in new mutations. He got massive professional resistance, but still good spread on social media.

bossche use now omikron as proof that he is right.

Norwegian Runi Rogers is a microbiologist and worked in the pharmaceutical industry. In a podcast interview this summer, she claimed that the vaccines are not safe, that the tests do not work and that covid-19 is harmless. The interview received wide coverage on social media, but was also responded to by fact sheet.

A couple of weeks ago, Astrid Stuckelberger was interviewed on the alternative website Hemali. She has researched public health and has worked in the WHO.

She says the pandemic is fake and that the vaccines are an experiment. Her most startling claim is that the vaccine contains the material graphene, which can kill us.

It is easy to become discouraged when knowledge is distorted and used to intimidate have checked the claim. It comes from a study conducted by a Spanish researcher, who received a vaccine sample from an anonymous sender. In the sample there were traces of graphene.

The university where the researcher works has distanced himself from the study, because it is unofficial, not published and because the sample has an unknown origin.

You out of ten say they have great confidence

The media, fact checkers and researchers follow and check theories and claims about vaccines and covid-19. The goal is for sustainable health information to prevail, rather than undocumented or incorrectly documented claims. At the same time, we are in a pandemic where much is still uncertain. We are still waiting for results from long, large studies.

It provides fertile ground for conspiracy theories, but also insight into the research’s processes, strengths and shortcomings.

It is easy to become discouraged when knowledge is distorted and used to intimidate. Uncertainty can be perceived as insecure, but it helps that it is communicated clearly and sensibly by researchers and health authorities. It has worked for most of us.

Nine out of ten Norwegians say they have great confidence in the work researchers do, according to one survey from the Research Council. This is good news in the fight against conspiracy theories.

1 Comment

  • Greg

    When good is perceived as evil and evil as good it is the end of what we know. The media has spouted the words as truth that are spoken by those who spread evil!

    The press and news services better take note that these scientists, researchers and Dr’s who are speaking out are trying to warn us and thus risk their careers and reputation.Saying 9 out of 10 believe is one such lie being spread! As soon as a person speaks truth it is labeled conspiracy! Ridiculous!

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