Oh Joy! Another Covid Variant

Dow futures plunged more than 800 points last night. Why? Because of a new covid variant that apparently originated in South Africa. The New York Post reports:

The World Health Organization has scheduled a special meeting Friday to discuss a worrying new coronavirus variant detected in South Africa that appears to be rapidly mutating.

The so-called B.1.1.529 variant appears to have a high number of mutations — about 30 — in its spike protein, which could affect how easily it spreads to people, scientists have warned.

It appears doubtful that existing vaccines will be effective against the South African variant:

B.1.1.529 has a spike protein that is drastically different to the one in the original bug that the vaccines are based on, according to the UK Health Security Agency, which is raising some concern about how current jabs will perform against it.

South Africa’s Department of Health also said during a briefing Thursday that the variant contains several mutations associated with increased antibody resistance, which may reduce the effectiveness of current vaccines.

I believe that new vaccines are in development that focus on a broader range of covid characteristics (if I am phrasing that correctly) and therefore may be more effective against the South African and other future variants.

All of this was 100% predictable. Viruses mutate. The history of vaccines against coronaviruses has not been a happy one. If there is one thing we should be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend, it is that covid is not a more deadly disease. It seems obvious that we are going to be living with it indefinitely.

My own prediction is that covid will soon occupy the biological niche that in recent history has been taken up by what we call influenza, and also perhaps some of the niche occupied by the common cold. In another few years, things will have returned to normal, in that each winter some of us will contract respiratory viruses, and tens of thousands (mostly elderly and already weak) will die. The most important thing, in my opinion, is that we not treat every new covid mutation in hysterical fashion, blighting our people’s lives, needlessly devastating our economy, and above all abusing our children. Such “cures” are worse than the disease.

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