The next COVID wave is here. 1.5 times more transmissible than Omicron.

Cooper Neill/Reuters

There are already dozens of cases across almost half of the U.S. of a new Covid subvariant that’s even more contagious than the already highly transmissible omicron variant.

Nearly half of U.S. states have confirmed the presence of BA.2 with at least 127 known cases nationwide as of Friday, according to a global data base that tracks Covid variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement Friday, said although BA.2 has increased in proportion to the original omicron strain in some countries, it is currently circulating at a low level in the U.S….

The subvariant is 1.5 times more transmissible than the original omicron strain, referred to by scientists as BA.1, according to Statens Serum Institut, which conducts infectious disease surveillance for Denmark.

Here’s the important bit:

The new sublineage doesn’t appear to further reduce the effectiveness of vaccines against symptomatic infection, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency…

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, warned on Tuesday that the next Covid will variant be more transmissible.

“The next variant of concern will be more fit, and what we mean by that is it will be more transmissible because it will have to overtake what is currently circulating,” Van Kerkhove said. “The big question is whether or not future variants will be more or less severe.”

Please don’t work at convincing yourself this pandemic is over…or nearly over. Just saying…

Some States Want to Eliminate ALL Childhood Vaccinations

Georgia, David R. Kotok, Cumberland Advisors, January 30, 2022

Vaccinations requirements for school attendance have protected kids for generations. But some Georgia politicians recently appeared ready to scrap all that. Georgia Senate Bill 345, as submitted, would prohibit “vaccine passports,” or vaccine requirements of all kinds, for all facilities and services whatsoever, including schools…

Twitter lit up with responses, including this one, because apparently, people do not want to be drop-kicked back into a time when there weren’t vaccines and mandates and life expectancies, decades shorter, reflected that.

No Georgia children died of smallpox last year, either…

Zero Georgia children went blind from measles last year, though there were three cases of measles reported in the state as recently as 2019. That highly contagious disease (more contagious than Omicron) will surge again should vaccination rates languish…

No one in Georgia died last year of whooping cough (pertussis), either, though that virus continues to circulate in the US at a level held in check only by required vaccinations…

No vaccinated children in Georgia have died of Covid, though the state has lost 25 children so far to the disease…

Dear readers: Georgia is not the only state churning out laws to block vaccine requirements, but this proposed legislation is such a stark instance of ill-advised, deadly foolish lawmaking that we wanted to bring it to your attention.

David R, Kotok

This was emailed to thoughtful people all round the United States, this Sunday morning, by David Kotok. A well-known and respected economist, investment analyst and advisor. And a public-spirited Citizen.

It was forwarded to me via the daily newsletter I receive from Barry Ritholtz. He’s in the same trade as Mr. Kotok. Equally talented as economist and analyst, at least as public spirited…which is why I subscribe to his newsletter.

I’ve mentioned bits of my life experience before…growing up in a New England factory town before vaccines were generally mandated for schoolchildren. Federal guidelines were accepted in Connecticut when I was still in elementary school in the 1940’s. My peers and I were vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and smallpox.

In truth, today, reading this note from David Kotok included in Barry’s newsletter…I remembered my friend, Nick, who died of diphtheria. The last unvaccinated kid in the neighborhood. Although the vaccines I noted were mandated, his parents had him exempted on religious grounds. So, Nick never got to grow up beyond 5th grade. He loved reading and we shared books from the neighborhood Burroughs Library. I missed him for a long time.