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Fact Check-Astroworld deaths not triggered by COVID-19 vaccines

Following the death of at least eight people at a U.S. music festival in Houston, Texas, some social media users claimed the event was evidence that people vaccinated against COVID-19 can be controlled and killed.

These allegations have no basis. The posts allege that, rather than killed by the documented stampede, the victims died when the frequency of the music activated graphene oxide in their COVID-19 vaccines. However, COVID-19 vaccines approved in the United States do not contain graphene oxide, and the accompanying video - allegedly showing graphene oxide’s response to certain music frequencies - in fact shows ferrofluids, a substance also unrelated to COVID-19 vaccines.

THE CONCERT

A stampede of fans surging toward the stage during rap star Travis Scott's performance at Astroworld music festival in Houston on Friday killed at least eight people as panic rippled through the crowd of largely young concertgoers, officials said on Saturday ( here ).

The victims were crushed in a chaotic surge of concertgoers near the stage, with some unable to breathe and others trampled underfoot. Hundreds of others were injured during Friday's performance, officials said ( here )

THE POSTS

“Graphene Oxide and its reaction to different frequency (sic),” reads a tweet with a video showing a black material moving in a glass container while drums can be heard in the background ( here ). “Think about that Travis Scott concert,” the user wrote in a subsequent tweet.

“WHAT HAPPENED AT THE TRAVIS SCOTT CONCERT? They’re practicing!! Once they put graphene oxide in you, all they have to do is TUNE THE FREQUENCY!! […] As others have said this is a test run on the vaxxed,” part of another post sharing a video with this same clip says on Facebook ( here ).

The same clip shared on TikTok in October - alongside the implication that COVID-19 vaccines contain graphene oxide with the occult purpose of controlling vaccinated people - garnered over a million views ( here ).

Other iterations are viewable on YouTube here , here , here . “(GRAPHENE OXIDE) EXPOSED TO TUNING FREQUENCIES !!! ONCE THEY PUT IT IN YOU, IT'S ALL THEY HAVE TO DO,” reads one of the videos’ captions.

THE CLIP

The clip of the moving black substance featured in the social media posts has nothing to do with COVID-19 vaccinations or graphene oxide, however.

The material moving in the glass container is a ferrofluid, artist DAKD Jung, creator of the “ferro audio visualizer,” which is shown in the video, told Reuters via email. See full video in higher quality here. Other videos in his YouTube Channel show his device, here, here.

Jung dismissed the conspiracy claims made online about his video and said that his “visualizer is an electromagnet that moves a ferrofluid”, which is a magnetic substance.

Ferrofluids, originally discovered in the 1960s at the NASA Research Center, according to the University of Wisconsin Madison ( here ), are a combination of magnetic nanoparticles, most commonly of magnetite, suspended in a carrier liquid. They have “the fluid properties of a liquid and the magnetic properties of a solid.” When in presence of a magnet, its tiny particles are drawn to it, causing an array of spikes.

They have a wide range of applications, including in loudspeakers and computers, as well as potential uses in biomedicine, such as drug delivery or as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) ( here, here, here).

In an article ( here ) Gizmodo provided further insight of how Jung’s device works. “Thanks to an electromagnet mounted behind the glass container whose power is controlled by an Arduino Nano ( here ) based on the music being played, the ferrofluid comes to life and dances around, tears itself apart, and re-solidifies in sync to the tunes. In addition to volume, a second dial on the speaker’s face controls the specific audio frequency the ferrofluid responds to, allowing it to selectively react to a song’s treble or bass depending on which is more emphatic in the mix.”

GRAPHENE OXIDE

The COVID-19 vaccines approved in the United States do not contain graphene oxide as previously debunked by Reuters ( here ), ( here ).

Other fact-checkers debunked the same claim, here, here.

Reuters has debunked other false claims regarding the Astroworld concert ( here , here).

VERDICT

False. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain graphene oxide and did not cause the deaths at the Astroworld festival. Posts feature a video from a speaker that displays ferrofluids, which are also unrelated to COVID-19 vaccines.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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