Fact Check: Name For Omicron Variant Was NOT Devised To Produce Eye of Providence Symbol

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Name For Omicron Variant Was NOT Devised To Produce Eye of Providence Symbol Proto-Sinaitic

Was the B.1.1.529 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus named "Omicron" so that a glyph in the shape of an eye could be combined with the Greek letter Delta to reveal a secret Illuminati symbol? No, that's not true: Among other reasons, the Greek letter Omicron is represented by a circle, not an eye.

The misleading pictogram puzzle meme appeared on social media in early December 2021. One example is a Facebook post on December 5, 2021. It's captioned:

The Greek Letter 'Delta' is Pyramid shaped... and the Phoenician Letter for 'Omicron' is 'Ayin' whose Symbol just happens to be an 'EYE".

The meme contains three graphics that are labelled:

Delta, Omicron and Illuminati

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

omicronpost.JPG

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Dec 6 15:05:31 2021 UTC)

On May 8, 2015, the World Health Organization issued some best practices for the naming of "new infections, syndromes, and diseases that have never been recognized or reported before in humans, that have potential public health impact, and for which there is no disease name in common usage." The hope was to avoid the negative stigmatizing effect of naming diseases after people, places, animals or occupations.

On May 31, 2021, the WHO announced the Greek alphabet would be used to refer to specific variants of SARS-CoV-2 in addition to continuing to use the scientific naming systems. Currently there are five Variants of Concern (VOCs) -- Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron -- and two Variants of Interest (VOIs) -- Lambda and Mu. Three Greek-letter-identified variants are no longer considered of concern: Kappa, Iota and Eta.

An article published on nytimes.com on November 27, 2021, titled, "How Omicron, the New Covid-19 Variant, Got Its Name" quotes a WHO spokesman, Tarik Jasarevic, about why WHO skipped over the Greek letters Nu and Xi:

'Nu' is too easily confounded with 'new' and 'Xi' was not used because it is a common last name.

In this pictogram meme puzzle, only the first figure, the Greek letter Delta, has an accurate label.

The figure of the eye, labeled "Omicron" in this meme, is a figure that comes from the Proto-Semitic alphabet. This letter is called "ayn," not Omicron. The Phoenician letter "ayin" and Greek letter Omicron that were derived from "ayn" are both written as a simple circle or oval.

Both the Greek letter Omicron and the Phoenician letter ayin are represented by a circle, not an eye. The first alphabetic writing system, called Proto-Sinaitic script, contains a glyph that resembles an eye. It is named, "en" or "ayn" and corresponds with "ayin" in the Phoenician, Hebrew and Arabic alphabets.

An alternate caption also circulating with this meme reads: "...and the Hebrew Letter for 'Omicron' is 'Ayin' whose Symbol just happens to be an 'EYE.'" Although the name for the Hebrew script letter, ayin, does mean eye, the glyph does not resemble an eye and is not what is pictured in the meme.

The last image shows a symbol of an eye inside a triangle labeled "Illuminati." This symbol is known as the Eye of Providence (providence meaning divine guidance or care). It is rendered with shining rays of light extending outward from the triangle. This was originally a Christian symbol representing "the all-seeing eye of God."

The Bavarian Illuminati were a secret society founded in 1776 and banned by the Bavarian government in 1785. Some conspiracists now equate the Eye of Providence with the Illuminati, who did use it, but the symbol most representative of the Bavarian illuminati was the "Owl of Minerva." This symbol, intended to represent wisdom and vigilance, is an owl perched on an open book.

The Eye of Providence is also associated with the Freemasons. The website freemason.com describes the significance of the symbol this way:

The symbol of the all seeing eye serves as a reminder to Freemasons of the watchfulness of the Great Architect. Our brotherhood is held to a high moral standard, dedicating our lives to community, self-improvement, and seeking light. As we commit to Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth in all that we do, we have these symbolic reminders that surround us, reminding us of where our values lie. Thus, the Eye of Providence reminds us of the need for our actions to be just and for us to live humbly and in harmony with all creation.

The Eye of Providence also appears on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States. Images of the front and back of the Great Seal can be found on the reverse side of the $1 bill. A short podcast (transcript here) produced by the U.S. Currency Education Program discusses many of the details found in the Great Seal design, including the Eye of Providence that floats over an unfinished pyramid made of 13 steps. This numeric theme is repeated several times in the design of the Great Seal. The number 13 represents the number of colonies or original states.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


 

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