It shuttered entire economies and put the brakes on lifting pre-existing restrictions. It was so devious and unprecedented that many governments were forced to make vaccination mandatory. Health passes and double-masking became the norm due to its unrivaled threat to public wellbeing.
We are of course referring to the Delta strain, which is often confused with the common cold because they share the same symptoms. Does that make you feel slightly upset? That’s a Delta symptom so you should probably get tested.
It would require several large tomes to cover all aspects of this extraordinarily oversold health threat. Instead, we will examine its media-fueled rise to virus stardom, and also the mutation’s Achilles’ Heel: “almost no evidence or data backing any of this.”
The Indian strain: a six-month-old mutation that appeared just in time
First identified in India in October 2020, the underappreciated “Indian” strain finally received the attention it deserved after the World Health Organization (WHO) listed B.1.617.2 as a “variant of interest” on April 4, 2021.
It was a curiously timed upgrade for a mutation that had already been in circulation for six months. By mid-April, it was begrudgingly accepted that the UK variant, which had provoked border closures and draconian restrictions across the globe, was not linked to more severe illness and did not lead to higher rates of death.