As a biologist & healthcare worker, I take Umair’s article with a serious grain of salt unless this was a sensationalist piece. If the latter then by all means, throw out the Sodium Chloride. As a biologist & healthcare worker, I found this piece harmful to people’s understanding of COVID-19 and goes against scientific literature. Journalists’ duty is to calmly inform the public in a balanced manner. A fiction writer’s job is to incite and titillate. Please see my comments below:

“ a newer, worse strain of Covid”
=> Simply, Not true. Some epidemiologists say this 3rd variant, b117, may be less INFECTIOUS (deadly), but more CONTAGIOUS (easy to catch).

“The virus has mutated. Uh oh, that doesn’t sound good, you’re probably thinking to yourself. You’d be correct. And yet it’s not any weaker. “
=> COVID-19, in my lit research, naturally mutates randomly every 6-12 months. It would be unnatural if everyone infected on Earth had the same COVID-19 variant with 100% fidelity.

“Imagine what happens when — not if, but when — this strain reaches, say, American shores.”
=>It took COVID-19 two to three weeks to reach the US from China back in March ‘20. It is a delusion to think COVID-19 cares about borders & requires VISAS. The earth & our bodies are one big playpen to viruses.

“And yet the West is already struggling with normal Covid.”
=>Not true. “Normal COVID-19” is mixed in with Mutant #2 (D614G) spread from Europe also. This the 3rd major variant of COVID-19 is called b117. B117 is considered less deadly or virulent, but more contagious by approximately 70%. America struggles because we are the DIS-United States of American run by mobocracy not democracy for the people.

“ Instead, the virus has mutated into a form that spreads faster but hasn’t gotten less deadly. That is why it’s such bad news — same mortality rate, much, much higher infection rate.”
=>More sensationalism. A high mortality rate is tied to a high infection rate. Most scientists agree that B117 does spread faster, but maybe slightly less deadly; certainly NOT more infectious or deadly.

“This new strain isn’t more deadly — it’s just the same lethality. But it is almost twice as virulent.”
=>Please make up your mind. Virulence is similar to infectiousness which is similar to deadliness, but contagiousness (ability to spread) is not part of the strict definition of all three terms.

That lets us begin to answer the question: will vaccines protect against Super Covids? The answer is: we don’t know, but maybe.
=>This is the most egregious error IMHO. Are you trying to spread fake medical news and alarm Medium Readers? Every doctor & scientist say with full confidence ALL vaccines so far produced will be effective against variant #3 mutant #3 or B.1.1.7.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7535146/coronavirus-vaccine-variant-protection-who/

My apologies for digging into your piece. As a scientist, I couldn’t let my search for truth and balance go unheeded. Eager to see what you will write next.