Another independent line of evidence says the UK variant is about 50% more contagious. That's pretty much a wrap. This is very, very bad news for the UK, and bad news for everyone else.
They did a contact tracing analysis of patients with the new variant vs. patients with "wildtype" i.e. normal variants, and the new variant showed 50% more infections passed on to their contacts. That, combined with the geographic spread displacing other variants everywhere and the > 10x higher viral loads, makes it essentially certain.
Two tiny pieces of not-bad news:
- All the evidence still suggests the new variant is not more harsh or deadly, despite the extremely high viral loads.
- And the high viral loads will mean that antigen tests will perform much better once this is variant is dominant. How's that for a stretch?