The newest identified variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, has received its name. Omicron is the name of the "o" character in the Greek alphabet, as well as the latest variant of concern first identified in South Africa.
As the word "Omicron" existed in vernacular before the pandemic, several pieces of pop culture contain the word. Perhaps most famously, the planet of King Lrrr from Futurama, Omicron Persei 8.
But there are more pop culture mirrors, such as a 1963 science fiction film simply titledOmicron. Of course, wild stories full of half-truths and new conspiracy theories ensued.
Some, like a fake movie poster that mistitled the film The Omicron Variant have already been debunked.
The film, shot in Italian, tells the story of an alien who takes over a human body to learn about humans so his race may more easily invade planet earth.
There is no mention of a virus or a disease, but that has not stopped the conspiracy theories from popping up. One of the more popular conspiracies has retitled this film as The Omicron Variant rather than simply Omicron, in order to suggest a more direct parallel between the virus and the film.
However, the film is only known as Omicron.
Other conspiracy theorists have found straws to connect story threads, but for the most part the conspiracy is being dismissed rather quickly by any and all sources.
Becky Cheatle—who originally created the altered poster being shared—tweeted:
“Hi. It's been brought to my attention that one of my posters is circulating on Spanish language Twitter as ‘proof’ of a Covid hoax."
"It's just a goof because I thought Omicron Variant sounded like a 70s sci-fi movie. Please do not get sick on account of my dumb joke. Thanks.”
Others shared clips of the movie to dispel the misinformation.
But people persisted with their alternate takes on reality.
As experts have continued to state, the Omicron variant is still under observation and not a whole lot of information is available on what it could mean for the pandemic or vaccines.
But either way, the variant and this particular B-movie from the 1960s remain unrelated.