This mutation on the mutation is new and present now in about 50 countries including the US. Mutations in the spike protein may require changes in vaccines to combat it.(1) Based on the incidence in Denmark and other countries with better measurement than the US, BA.2 is just as contagious as the original Omicron version, and may be more so.
The statistics may confuse some people.
- Omicron appears to be infecting more people than the original (Alpha) or Delta versions of the virus.
- On a per infection basis, Omicron directly kills fewer people than the Original or Delta version.
- However, because Omicron infects so many more people, the absolute death total is increasing and total deaths from Omicron are now greater than the death toll from Delta.(2).
The percentage is lower, but the base on which the percentage is calculated is much greater. That’s also why hospitals have filled with the “less deadly” version of the virus.
Is BA.2 more or less deadly than the original Omicron strain? We don’t know yet. BA.2 was out there before we became aware of it, so we are just starting to collect data on what it does now.
Will BA.2 cause another spike in cases and hospitalizations? We don’t know yet.
Is Delta done? We don’t know that either. It’s possible for Delta or a Delta variant to make a comeback.(4)
Are there other variants out there? No doubt. It’s a lethal chess game, and Mother Nature always has the first move.
Some people like to think they control their own lives. What they can control is actually quite limited. We live in a world of probabilities, not certainties. Get used to it.
The life insurance industry is in a classic bind. Competition puts downward pressure on rates, but increases in deaths especially among younger working age adults is putting upward pressure on costs. Companies are groping to find ways to be more selective about whom they accept but I have yet to see anything that in my opinion resembles a viable long term strategy.
To push the chess analogy, in any undertaking there is eventually an end game. That’s just how it is. In school, it’s graduation. In a business, it’s an exit strategy. In worklife, it’s retirement. In life, it’s death. Everything has an end. For each exit, you need a plan. The plan may change, but you need one just the same.