Welcome to the song that never ends.
There’s now a new COVID-19 variant that the World Health Organization (WHO) is meeting over today.
It was recognized in South Africa, and the concern is that appears the most “heavily mutated variant” so far.
What does that mean?
The UK Health Security Agency said the variant, which is called B.1.1.529, has a spike protein that was dramatically different to the one in the original coronavirus that COVID-19 vaccines are based on.
— GMA News (@gmanews) November 26, 2021
The variant has more than 30 mutations on its spike protein – the key used by the virus to unlock our body’s cells – more than double the number carried by Delta. Such a dramatic change has raised concerns that the antibodies from previous infections or vaccination may no longer be well matched. Purely based on knowing the list of mutations, scientists anticipate that the virus will be more likely to infect – or reinfect – people who have immunity to earlier variants.
It also seems “highly contagious among young people .” Of course, so it picks up where the original left off and just in time for the vaccine push for kids.
The British government announced that it was banning flights from South Africa and five other southern African countries effective at noon (1200GMT) on Friday, and that anyone who had recently arrived from those countries would be asked to take a coronavirus test.
U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said there were concerns the new variant “may be more transmissible” than the dominant delta strain, and “the vaccines that we currently have may be less effective” against it.
Grant Shapps, the British transportation secretary, called the move essential, according to Reuters. He said the spike protein was “dramatically different” from the virus that the vaccines were designed to counter.
Israel already has one case, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said they’re close to declaring a state of emergency. Two cases have also been detected in Hong Kong.
This news is causing markets to crash this morning, as this hits people.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has so far dropped 900 points, as the new COVID variant sparked a market sell-off, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite sliding 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively, according to CNBC.
So if you thought that we were close to being done with this because the cases once again were decreasing, it sounds like you might have to think again. It looks like they’re gearing up again for the next variant. Even though they just announced it, they’re already suggesting that immunity and the vaccines that we have may not be sufficient to deal with it. Expect governments — once again — to use it as a reason to freak out and re-impose more restrictions on people around the world.
That made me think this morning of this classic from the great Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop.
“This is the song that doesn’t end, yes it goes on and on, my friend. Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was, but they’ll continue singing it forever just because.”
But we know what it is now. Can we just turn off the song and stop singing it already?