Brendan Foht and Ari Schulman in The New Atlantis:
Let’s start with the good news.
It appears that the new strain of SARS-CoV-2, which scientists call B.1.1.7 (but we will just call it “new Covid”) causes the same illness as the already known strains of the virus (which we will collectively call “old Covid”). New Covid is a respiratory illness with seemingly the same symptoms as old Covid. And from what we know so far, if you get it your odds of becoming severely ill or dying are probably not dramatically different than with old Covid. So we’re still not facing a Contagion scenario.
Now the bad news. New Covid spreads much more aggressively. That could mean the return of runaway spread like we saw in March. And it could mean that reaching herd immunity will require a larger share of people to be infected or vaccinated. So we may be looking at a deadlier and longer pandemic unless smart, aggressive action is taken right now.