XB what? BQ huh? Do you need to keep up with Omicron’s ever-expanding offspring?

It’s like clockwork now. Every few months, we’re warned that the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spawned yet another subvariant, this one even more transmissible than the ones it is fast overtaking.

The new entity is given a name, an unwieldy string of letters and numbers separated by periods. There’s discussion — some of it breathless — on Twitter and in the media about the threat the new subvariant poses. People who are still following Covid-19 news worry. People who are determined to ignore Covid pay no attention.

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