If the new strain turns out not to be true, will LA Times articles get flagged by Facebook?

The big news this week is that Coronavirus is way way way worse than you thought.

Scientists have identified a new strain of the coronavirus that has become dominant worldwide and appears to be more contagious than the versions that spread in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study led by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The new strain appeared in February in Europe, migrated quickly to the East Coast of the United States and has been the dominant strain across the world since mid-March, the scientists wrote.
A new more deadly strain of the Wuhan Flu does sound scary...it also sounds familiar. You may remember hearing about S-type and L-type strains back in early March, when (surprise surprise) the World Health Organization said that was #FakeNews bullshit.

However the March study has a lot of names starting with "X" with "I" as the second letter in the name of almost every single one of the dozen authors. This from the Los Alamos lab presumably has more Americans. Oddly enough the woke media and tech giants seem to put more weight on this theory.

It remains a theory though: for a bizarre change when dealing with press coverage of the Wuhan Flu the media seems interested in actually publishing opinions from scientists who both agree and disagree with the findings. The San Fransisco Chronicle put the doubters ("science deniers"?) right in their headline. Is this because this research seems to contradict previous WHO proclamations and therefore major media could find their YouTube videos (at least in theory) deleted for daring to say "hey the gatekeepers might have just gotten it wrong"? This slow and cautious approach seems shocking when they instantly decide "massive shutdowns" are the answer...moreso when you realize that governments that oversold on the Neil Ferguson models can use such a strain to retroactively justify what they've done.

For the purposes of argument however let's say this is true: there's a new even deadlier strain that mutated within 3 months of the initial outbreak. As I noted above, this would be a boon to the governments that really are enjoying their lockdown powers. However if the "this is important" scientists are right about the strains that means a vaccine for the S-type strain (let's just keep with the S-type and L-type phrasing) is useless against the new L-type. It's a bit of a moot point though isn't it? After all, they haven't finished the vaccine for the S-type yet, the earliest they expect that would be just before Christmas 2020. Indeed there are some who worry we're looking at Spring 2022 before a vaccine is available. A different coronavirus called MERS still doesn't have an vaccine 8 years later! Now for all those who were so concerned about exponential growth of the virus and all that jazz, let's do a couple of scary graphs of our own:

In the blue is the number of Wuhan Flu strains presuming that we get a mutation every quarter: so as I'm typing this the S-type is mutating into an S1-type, and the L-type is mutating into an L2-type so we'll have four strains. Then three months from now we have 8 strains as the S-type has mutated into an S2-type and the L into an L2 (and the L1 into an L1A and the S1 into an S1A) and so on. What's orange? Well that's the number of vaccines available based on the 2-yr theory. You may have trouble seeing it, let me blow up the bottom part of the graph:

So yay! We've cured one of the 4096 different viral strains. You may notice that this makes a crazy assumption: that every new strain is so different that antibodies for one don't help against another. That's not strictly speaking true, if you were exposed to the 1957 bird flu then you had partial immunity to the 1968 Hong Kong Flu. How applicable will this be to COVID? Hell, they can't even tell you for certain if your antibodies to this disease are any good two years from now! The general answer is "we don't know": it may be that only 10% of these new strains are different enough to need different antibodies (and therefore different vaccines). It may be that my chart is as accurate as one of Ferguson's and by 2022 there will only be the S-type and L-type strains. Hell, it may be that there's only one strain this whole time (remember the argument I implicitly accepted above and will continue to do except for this brief pause).

But if vaccines take 1-8 years and the virus changes every 3-9 months, we will never have a vaccine for COVID-19. No vaccine ever. At all. Or rather we'll be always fighting the last war. So when the Shiny Pony says "lockdowns need to stay until we get a vaccine" he's making no sense at all (kind of like his normal method of communication).

This is why this information needs to be sorted out, and fast. Under this scenario one of two decisions will need to be made:
  1. We accept that all of this: flattening the curve, lockdowns, curfews, bars closed down, borders sealed... all of it was a total waste of our time and we need to just get over ourselves and get back to normal and make a lot fewer long-term investments.
  2. Lockdown forever: permanently shutter bars and restaurants and sports leagues and hair salons and that trampoline place on St. Albert Trail by 137th Avenue that always creeps me out. All airlines will go bust. Hotels will all shut down, tourism will never come back ever again. Billions of people will have to find something else to do with their time until they starve to death because eventually the government cheques won't be backed by any actual GDP and rampant inflation will be the ruin of us all: but police will get ever greater powers to beat you down like a Lethbridge Stormtrooper and force you into compliance. Machine guns in your face at checkpoints. Snitches turning your 8-person birthday party into a government seizing greater and greater authority.
Now ask yourself: which of these two options do the likes of Whitmer and Trudeau find more appealing?