Here is a new and disheartening post from Dr. Marissa Carter about the new COVID-19 variant (see her previous posts about COVID-19).
The new SARS-Cov2 b117 variant is worse than we thought. Not only is it more infectious, but infections are associated with higher viral loads. (The variant adds 0.4-0.7 to the basic R0.) I’m upping my previous mortality and collateral damage numbers forecast a lot, based on some mathematical modeling, but I haven’t finished yet. The South African variant warrants more examination, too. The multi-million dollar question: What is the effectiveness of the current COVID-19 vaccines against these variants? We do know that the major vaccine companies are going to tweak the vaccine in the next couple of months to account for these new variants.
In my humble opinion, the new strain will become dominant in the USA by early March.