This is not medical advice. As a media outlet Rebuilding Rome is not able to, nor do we wish to, provide medical advice Consult your personal doctor that knows your conditions and relevant information.
Lambda is not the first variant that has been detected during the Covid19 pandemic. Two of the most famous are the Beta and Delta variants that where first detected in South Africa and India respectively 1https://www.who.int/en/activities/tracking-SARS-CoV-2-variants/ . These captured the medias and the public’s attention as they appear more difficult to contain then the standard Covid19 and perhaps deadlier. Numerous articles contained the information above and also concerns that this could be resistant to the vaccine or have a incredible jump in lethality. With a global outbreak it is not surprising that variants have occurred, the moment it was not contained in China this became practically inevitable. For some the lack of research by the media has been the most surprising aspect of the variants and this is the case for Lambda.
Most articles mentioning Lambda talk about how it is a new threat. It was designated a Virus of Interest on 14 of June 2021 2https://www.who.int/en/activities/tracking-SARS-CoV-2-variants/ . Speculation about if this has higher lethality and infectiousness followed. Yet the growing narrative is neglecting prudent information. The first is that this is not the same as the Beta or Delta variant that are listed on Variants of Concern. Also this did not appear on or close to 14 of June in 2021. It was first detected in Peru in December 2020 this is listed in the same primary source as the Virus of Interest. This changes the narrative as it has been with us for some time. Perhaps the early outbreaks were in isolated areas and did not reach people. Unfortunately this data is not available for us to determine if this is the case. What we can confirm with the WHO source is this did not recently appear.
One problem with seeing if the Lambda variant is worse is how the data can be found. The source used to see if there is a increase and other information is GISAID 3 https://www.gisaid.org/hcov19-variants/ . This is a respected source that is supported by both the EU and WHO. However in this source it does not give a sample size (how many tests are included) or how many actors have contributed data. Despite this, we can see the percent of Covid19 cases that are Lambda increasing in South America and also Europe. This could however be due to other reasons then it being more infectious. Perhaps an increase in those able to leave South America has triggered a amount of cases or other human behavior related reasons. With the data that you can find we are unable to prove or disprove if these theories have merit.
One concerning aspect can be seen in the data however. Due to low vaccination rates in South America there are not any current studies about how Lambda works with a vaccinated population. Do note that this is a absence of data and not data that it does not work. Some experts fear that it may be able to make the vaccines useless. If this is the case that Lambda is a grave concern. Yet a compelling reason for why we are just seeing it spread to the rest of the world has not been given. You would have expected to see this strain that could beat vaccines earlier when the US and UK rolled them out.
The big takeaway from Lambda is the reporting around it. It is fueling hysteria and fear with the limited information that is possible. A expert is not going to give assurances of a unknown especially during a pandemic this is not news. It could be something nastier then expected but against this is the fact it has been with us since December 2020. When you look at all available reports and data the Beta and Delta variant are much worse.
So what is a possible reason for the high South America death toll?
South American healthcare is not the same as western countries. Yet it would allow lots of vulnerable older people to be around when compared to the developing world. As we have seen with India it is the healthcare system being overwhelmed that spikes death rates. Perhaps it has a higher spread rate (although this is still a assumption not proven yet). It is the healthcare collapse that means lots of people die.
So should you worry about Lambda at the current moment?
There is not data or reason to worry at the current moment. Information is being sort so that the vaccine fears can be confirmed or denied. Both the Beta and Delta variants also had this fear. One known problem is that the media constantly crying wolf with a new variant or aspect of the pandemic has worn the public down. That has its own consequences.