The next coronavirus variant could be more contagious than the omicron variant, experts said Tuesday. The main question, though, is whether or not it will be more deadly.

The news: World Health Organization officials said Tuesday that the new major COVID-19 variant will have the ability to spread quickly because it will work to overtake omicron, according to CNBC.

  • “The next variant of concern will be more fit, and what we mean by that is it will be more transmissible because it will have to overtake what is currently circulating,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, per CNBC.
  • “The big question is whether or not future variants will be more or less severe.”
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Why it matters: With omicron cases on the downturn, there’s been an ongoing theory that the pandemic might have reached its endgame. But this isn’t the case, according to experts.

Warnings: Kerkhove warned against the ongoing theory that the coronavirus will morph into more mild variants.

  • “There is no guarantee of that. We hope that that is the case, but there is no guarantee of that and we can’t bank on it,” she said.
  • The new variant, she said, could evade vaccines even more and make them less effective, allowing the coronavirus to create severe symptoms among those infected.

The bigger picture: For Dr. Anthony Fauci, a variant that evades the COVID-19 vaccine would be the worst-case scenario for what happens next in the pandemic, as I reported for the Deseret News.

  • “The worst-case scenario is we’re on our way there and we get hit with another variant that actually eludes the immune protection. I hope that’s not the case,” Fauci told Yahoo Finance!