That’s the question at Wired:
This is the worst worst-case scenario. “There are plenty of eco-evolutionary scenarios where this isn’t a traditional super-spreader event, but a ‘super-evolutionary event,’” Scarpino says, “where a critical mass of vaccinated individuals are selecting for variants that have increased transmissibility in vaccinated individuals.” All those people with differing immune statuses and different exposures to different strains of the virus could create a terrifying genetic parody of Olympism’s international cooperation: a free and open exchange of viral ideas on how to be more infectious, maybe even more deadly or more vaccine-evasive. And then it’d travel back to everyone’s home country under the cover of asymptomatic spread.
There are two extremes on the scale of probability. The best outcome anyone can hope for at this point is that with the screening program in place, only a few people will get infected or ill. A few Olympic stories will end badly. That’s already happening—athletes and the people who work with them have been denied a chance to compete in Tokyo because testing shows they’re infected. And on the far side of the scale is a super-evolutionary event that allows the development of an even more potent form of the virus and then puts it on hundreds of jet planes headed to every corner of the planet. For everyone wondering what the most likely outcome is, it’s like the Olympics, except only in the most terrifying way possible: It’s unpredictable.Adam Rogers, “The Olympics Could Be a Covid-19 ‘Super-Evolutionary Event’” at Wired (July 22, 2021)
Just a thought: A hypothesis in science can be confuted by evidence. If it can’t, it is not a hypothesis in science. It may be a fine scare story but that’s a wholly different matter and we will let the publishers and filmmakers deal with it.
So: If there is no “super-evolutionary event” as a result of the Tokyo Olympics, is there anything that we can reasonably conclude? Could we conclude, for example, that natural selection is not necessarily the terrifying creative force that some have claimed?
No hurry. Just wondering.