Welcome to "on the one hand, on the other hand" with covid!
On the one hand, the emergence of a highly-mutated super covid from South Africa
(which seems to be named "Nu") is something we don't need. At all. A "greatest hits" album of enhanced immune escape and slightly higher transmissibility, this may be the first variant selected for immune escape properties, while with Alpha and Delta it was all about the transmission speed.
On the other hand, even this will not be enough to fully escape antibodies and vaccines.
Importantly, this does *not* mean Nu variant will fully escape vaccine- or infection-elicited antibodies.
In fact, this hurdle is so high that covid will have a hard time taking it, especially after natural infection plus vaccination - and even with (current) vaccines this seems to be only halfway to full escape: 20 distinct escape-related mutations in the right combination are needed for that, of which Nu has 10.
Plasma from individuals who had been infected and subsequently received mRNA vaccination neutralized pseudotypes bearing this highly resistant SARS-CoV-2 polymutant spike, or diverse sarbecovirus spike proteins.
What does "not fully escape" mean in practice? You get infected, but your immune system kicks the thing out. Which is good for the virus since it can spread, good for you, since you don't die, and good for society since you don't occupy a hospital bed.
All this confirms Christian Drosten's point of four to five contacts with the virus - ideally vaccination first, breakthrough infection later - being needed to fully prime the immune system and protect us against exactly this kind of variant.
Cynically speaking, if this burns through the unvaccinated even faster, it means vaccine mandates, antibodies (or death) for refusers, and an end to this mess may coming quicker, albeit at a higher price of human life.
EDIT: I link to virology twitter, not actual news, because I did not find any reasonable article focusing on facts, not what-ifs.