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Why we may be close to the worst COVID-19 variant yet

The worst coronavirus variant to date might come from lockdowns

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An illustration of the omicron variant.

The worst coronavirus variant to date might come from lockdowns

Illustration by Zoe Peterson, Deseret News

The current COVID-19 wave in China might lead to the worst coronavirus variant yet, an expert recently told The Daily Beast.

The surge of infections in China could lead to more mutations of the virus, which would, in theory, create a more dangerous variant.

“There’s the distinct possibility that things will get out of control in China,” John Swartzberg, a professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Public Health, told The Daily Beast.


“If that happens, there will be a remarkable amount of viral reproduction occurring in people and this will increase the possibility of problematic variants being produced.”

China’s recent coronavirus outbreak in Shanghai remains “extremely grim” as there is an ongoing lockdown of its citizens, a city official said, per The Associated Press.

Gu Honghui, the director of Shanghai’s working group on epidemic control, told local media in China that the recent COVID-19 outbreak there was “still running at a high level.”

China has been working to contain the coronavirus outbreak by locking down over 25 million people, per BBC News. There have been about 13,000 reported cases per day for the city and more than 10,000 health workers have been sent to help the city fight the recent outbreak.

Most recently, Shanghai has set up quarantine facilities for people who tested positive for COVID-19 but don’t have COVID-19 symptoms.

“At the beginning people were frightened and panicked,” one patient named Beibei told ABC News. “But with the publication of daily figures, people have started to accept that this particular virus is not that horrible.”