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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke August 6, 2021

No, the delta variant doesn’t refer to 'deep sleep'

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  • The World Health Organization announced in May that it was assigning letters of the Greek alphabet to key COVID-19 variants. Others include alpha and beta.

The highly contagious delta variant is now the predominant COVID-19 strain in the United States, but some continue to cast doubt on the risk the virus poses to people around the world. 

"You’re under a spell," reads the text above an image in a Facebook post of a man sleepwalking with faint photos of Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates, who appears to be holding a needle and vial, floating behind him. 

Below the image it says "delta variant" and "delta = deep sleep." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The delta variant doesn’t refer to "deep sleep." 

Featured Fact-check

In May, the World Health Organization announced it was assigning letters of the Greek alphabet to label key COVID-19 variants.  

"These labels were chosen after wide consultation and a review of many potential naming systems," WHO says on its website. "WHO convened an expert group of partners from around the world to do so, including experts who are part of existing naming systems, nomenclature and virus taxonomic experts, researchers and national authorities." 

Other variants have been labeled with other letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha, beta and gamma. When all 24 letters in the Greek alphabet have been assigned to variants, WHO will announce a new naming system, USA Today reported

The delta variant doesn’t refer to delta waves, which are associated with deep sleep

We rate claims that the "delta" in delta variant refers to "deep sleep" False.


Our Sources

Facebook post, July 30, 2021

Yale Medicine, 5 things to know about the delta variant, Aug. 3, 2021

World Health Organization, WHO announced simple, easy-to-say labels for SARS-CoV-2 variants of interest and concern, May 31, 2021

World Health Organization, Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants, visited Aug. 6, 2021

USA Today, WHO renames COVID-19 variants with Greek letter names to avoid confusion, stigma, May 31, 2021

American Psychological Association, APA dictionary of psychology, visited Aug. 6, 2021


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No, the delta variant doesn’t refer to 'deep sleep'

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