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Why Getting COVID on Purpose Is a Dangerous Idea


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Jan. 13, 2022 — With Omicron’s COVID-19 cases in the United States rising to what appear to be new records every day, speculation is growing among some science experts and novices alike that, for many, infection appears inevitable.

At a Senate hearing Tuesday, Acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, told the committee, “Most people will get COVID.”

In mid-December, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that vaccines alone would not protect us from Omicron. In late December, the epidemiologist told BBC News: “We have to be realistic; we are not going to stop Omicron.”

Now, social media posts are popping up reviving ideas similar to chickenpox parties, where you deliberately mix with infected people. A restaurant in Italy is charging $150 for the chance to have not only good wine with dinner, but also COVID-19.

So, if everyone is so likely to get infected, why not listen to the gossip out there, just get infected on purpose, and be done with it?

Public health experts say it’s a really bad idea.

Greg Poland, MD, professor of medicine and infectious diseases in the School of Medicine and Science at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and editor-in-chief of the journal Serum. “There may be higher rates of infection and higher rates of exposure, but individuals who are vaccinated, boosted, and those who wear masks have a very high chance of protecting themselves from infection.”

He says infection requires a chain of events that is not inevitable.

“I think it’s definitely going crazy,” says Aaron Glatt, MD, chief of infectious disease and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai, south of Nassau in Oceanside, New York. “It is highly contagious and will affect even booster vaccines.”

However, he says, “there’s no way to say, ‘Everyone will understand it.'” “

With ICUs stacked across the country and hard-to-find tests like truffles, “it’s definitely not a time to raise our hands in the air and say, ‘Everyone’s going to get it,'” says Omai B Garner, Ph.D., director of clinical microbiology for UCLA Health System In California, he says he’s sending the wrong message.

Saying Omicron will affect us across the board, he says, “means that we have to stop trying to fight it.” If that happens, he said, “you will put the immunocompromised and the unvaccinated at risk. This is still a very serious disease for people who have not been vaccinated.”

Garner mentions unvaccinated people, including an “entire population under the age of 5” against whom the COVID vaccine has not been permitted.

Get-It-on-Purpose Story

Poland says that the idea of ​​deliberately contracting the COVID virus is also faulty logic.

People may mistakenly assume that what they call “natural immunity” – and what he prefers more accurately, “disease-induced immunity” – will have no negative consequences, and that once infected, their immunity will be long-lasting.

Poland says another problem is a misunderstanding of what “milder” means when it says Omicron is generally lighter than the delta variant. He said that if you haven’t been vaccinated or inadequately vaccinated and you become infected with the Omicron variant, the prognosis is better than delta, but you can still get very sick and die.

“I definitely wouldn’t recommend that people go out and try to get an Omicron,” Glatt says. “If someone gets infected and recovers and does a good job, it will boost immunity, like [from] Any infection “but” that means you have to get sick, and that’s not a good idea.

Another misguided thinking, Poland says, is the knowledge that experts already know all there is to know about Omicron.

Not true, he says. He cites recent studies, such as newly published research from the CDC that found a higher risk of developing diabetes after children contract COVID-19.

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