Thousands of viral mutations have been recorded since Covid-19 first appeared, yet most of them proved of no consequence. All that has changed with Britain’s discovery of a new coronavirus variant that has since been identified in at least 33 other countries.
Scientists are struggling to understand why the UK’s variant — first identified in southeast England last month — has proven to be so dramatically more contagious than the many mutations that preceded it, without seeming to be any more lethal.
On the findings of another global research effort hinge fundamental questions about our pandemic response as we wait — maybe for many more months — for population-wide vaccine relief. Are we wearing the right masks in the interim? Is two metres far enough