Can We Please Not Panic Over a So-Called ‘Doomsday Variant’ That Doesn’t Even Exist Yet?

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In case you missed it, Newsweek printed its latest cover story on-line yesterday—a seemingly terrifying characteristic whose headline warns of a “Doomsday COVID Variant Worse Than Delta and Lambda” that “May Be Coming, Scientists Say.”

Scared, proper? You’d be a idiot to not be!

Properly, as soon as you progress previous that headline (which seems on the cover of Newsweek’s print mag as “The Doomsday Variant: COVID retains mutating into scary new threats. How frightened ought to we be?”) and browse the story itself, you understand that this so-called “Doomsday variant” could be very a lot not a factor, at the least not but. Rather, it’s a hypothetical, super-deadly pressure of the novel coronavirus that fortunately doesn’t exist past the mixed imaginations of the article’s writer, David H. Freeman, and his editors.

Studying the article, you’ll discover that tright here’s no direct quote from a scientist about such a variant. You’ll additionally discover that the solely point out of the phrase “Doomsday” within the physique of the piece comes from Freeman himself as he speculates as to how the pandemic would possibly presumably worsen than it presently is:

It’s too quickly to say whether or not Lambda will grow to be the subsequent large, unhealthy factor that COVID-19 unleashes on us. But it surely’s a superb time to marvel: Simply how damaging can these variants get? Will future variants broaden their assault from the lungs to the mind, the guts and different organs? Will they take a web page from HIV and trick folks into considering they’ve recovered, solely to make them sick later? Is there a Doomsday variant on the market that shrugs off vaccines, spreads like wildfire and leaves extra of its victims a lot sicker than something we’ve but seen?

Fortunately, as Freeman instantly counters within the following paragraph, “the percentages [of such a variant] aren’t excessive,” so I’m wondering why Newsweek’s employees packaged his story as in the event that they had been? I imply—OK, I’ll drop the naïve journalist-voice posturing. I do know why. Would you may have learn a narrative about how “There Is At present No Doomsday Variant So Please Don’t Panic As If There Is”?


That’s mainly the identify of this weblog submit.

Nonetheless! My level is that tright here’s lots to freak out about in terms of the pandemic—lagging vaccination charges in the USA, inaccessible and unaffordable medical take care of these coping with long-term results of the virus, vaccine shortage in the remainder of the world—however a made-up pressure doesn’t should be one in every of them. | Can We Please Not Panic Over a So-Referred to as ‘Doomsday Variant’ That Would not Even Exist But?


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