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>50% transmissible variant to infect >10M?

A novel SARS-CoV-2 variant, VOC 202012/01 (also known as 'lineage B.1.1.7'), emerged in southeast England in November 2020. A pre-print suggest that the variant is more transmissible than preexisting Sars-CoV-2 variants.

We estimate that VOC 202012/01 is 56% more transmissible (95% credible interval across three regions 50-74%) than preexisting variants of SARS-CoV-2.

Another variant under concern is 501.V2, which was first detected in South Africa and reported by the country's health department on 18 December 2020. The COVID-19 South African Online Portal has suggested that the aforementioned variant is driving an increase of new cases:

The evidence that has been collated, therefore, strongly suggests that that the current second wave we are experiencing is being driven by [501.V2].

Will a single novel SARS-CoV-2 variant that is at least 50% more transmissible than preexisting variants infect 10M worldwide before mid-2021?

This question resolves positively if credible evidence indicates that a single variant that is at least 50% more transmissible than preexisting variants infects 10M worldwide before 2021-06-02. Evidence that emerges on the resolution date (2021-12-30) may be consulted.

For a single variant to be considered at least 50.0% more transmissible than preexisting variants, a credible meta-analysis or systematic review of at least 5 studies indicates that the Sars-CoV-2 variant is at least 50% more transmissible than were dominant previously. Specifically, it must indicate that its effective reproductive number Rt is estimated to be 50% greater than that of the previously dominant variant, holding all else (such as behaviour and NPIs) constant.

To establish that the variant has infected 10M worldwide, we shall consult either reports issued by national health-agencies (or institutes affiliated with national health agencies), or credible meta-analyses of estimates in the academic literature. Single estimates in academic literature do not suffice for the purpose of this question.

See this this question's sister question on >30% transmissibility here.

  • In the likely case that estimates are given in credible or confidence intervals, any number below the 2.5th percentile of the interval in the relevant meta-analyses will be consulted.

  • Only evidence available at the resolution date (2021-12-30) may be consulted for resolution.

  • Meta-analyses or systematic reviews do not need to be peer-reviewed, though these need to be credible (e.g. their authors have a track-record of producing high-quality relevant research).


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