The coronavirus keeps mutating – putting scientists on their toes as they brace for the possibility that the virus could get better at spreading or at making us sick. “This virus has probably got tricks we haven’t seen yet,” virologist Robert F. Garry of Tulane University told my colleague Joel Achenbach. “We know it’s probably not quite as infectious as measles yet, but it’s creeping up there, for sure.” The new omicron variants that have emerged in recent months appear to be even more transmissible than previous versions of the virus, with preliminary data showing BA.2.12.1 to be about 25 percent more transmissible than the now-dominant BA.2 subvariant.

Federal health officials are urging people to continue wearing masks on airplanes, trains, buses and other public transportation, even though mask mandates have fallen by the wayside in much of the United States. “CDC continues to recommend that all people — passengers and workers, alike — properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in indoor public transportation conveyances and transportation hubs,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.