5 reasons you should not deliberately catch Omicron to ‘get it over with’

“Why not get Omicron and get it over with? It’s mild, right? And can it boost immunity?”

The fully vaccinated, empowered, and well-educated friend you asked was sincere and echoed the views heard on many social platforms.

The idea of ​​intentionally trying to catch Omicron is “in vogue,” said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Center for Vaccine Education at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, with an exasperated sigh.

“It has spread like wildfire,” agreed Dr. Robert Murphy, executive director of the Havey Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“And it is very widespread, coming from all kinds of people, vaccinated and reinforced and anti-vaccines,” he added, with a warning. “You’d be crazy if you tried to infect yourself with this. It’s like playing with dynamite.”

In case this occurred to you, here are five reasons why you shouldn’t be trying to catch Omicron on purpose.

1. It’s not a ‘bad cold’

Significant fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, a sore throat and severe congestion are often reported in even milder cases of the Omicron variant, Murphy said, leaving people weak for days.

“People talk about Omicron like it’s a bad cold. It’s not a bad cold,” Murphy said. “It is a life-threatening disease.”

A recent study of more than a million people published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the risk of a severe Covid-19 outcome was higher in vaccinated people 65 years of age and older. , people with weakened immune systems, or people who had at least one of the following health conditions: diabetes or chronic kidney, heart, lung, neurological, or liver disease.

However, even people without underlying health problems can become seriously ill, Murphy said. “I have a vaccinated and boosted patient right now, over 65 with no underlying risk factors, who is in the hospital and doing poorly.”

It is true that if you catch the Omicron variant of Covid-19, unlike the Delta variant, “you are less likely to be hospitalized, the less you go to the ICU (intensive care unit), unless they put you on a respirator mechanical and less likely to die, and that’s true for all age groups, “Offit said.

“But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a serious illness,” Offit added. “It’s just less serious. But you don’t have a 0% chance of dying. You should never want to get infected.”

2. You could have long Covid

Losing the sense of smell (and therefore taste) has become a more common symptom in mild cases of Covid-19. Studies show that around 80% of people regain capacity in about a month, but others still cannot smell or taste after six months or more. The unfortunate few may never regain those two senses.
Did Covid-19 take away your taste and smell?  This is when they can come back
As unpleasant as it may be, it is just one of many health problems that can go on and on after a case of COVID-19. Called “Long Covid,” the phenomenon is characterized by such debilitating symptoms as shortness of breath, severe fatigue, fever, dizziness, mental confusion, diarrhea, palpitations, muscle and abdominal pain, mood swings, and trouble sleeping.
Long-term severe forms of covid can damage your lungs, heart, and kidneys, as well as your mental health, and may qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal statutes.

“We are still trying to understand the long covid,” Offit said. “Because we don’t understand it, it wouldn’t be so quick to want to get an infection from a natural virus.

“A wild-type virus is always called a wild-type virus, and there is a good reason for this: it is out of control,” said Offit. “Never risk getting an infection from a natural virus.”

3. You are spreading the disease to children

Just over half (54%) of children ages 12 to 17 eligible for COVID-19 vaccines have been fully vaccinated. Only 23% of children between the ages of 5 and 11 have received their first dose, according to the CDC.
Because the booster doses, considered a key warrior in the fight against Omicron, were recently approved by the CDC for children up to 12 years old last week, few children have received that third injection.
What's safe for kids to do, with Omicron spreading fast?  An expert opines

That means any risky behavior that could expose you to Omicron, such as not wearing a mask, not following social distancing guidelines, or gathering with crowds, especially indoors, will potentially expose others who can then pass the virus on to your children.

Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics show an upward trend in infections in children, far exceeding “the peak of past waves of the pandemic.”

“During the week ending January 6, more than 580,000 cases of COVID-19 were reported in children,” according to figures released Monday by the AAP.

“This number is a 78% increase over the 325,000 aggregate cases reported in the week ending December 30 and nearly triples the number of cases from the previous two weeks,” the AAP stated.

Covid-19 infections in children have been typically mild so far in the pandemic, but the sheer magnitude of cases caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant is sending children under the age of 18 to hospitals in record numbers. , according to data from the CDC.

“I would say the best way to keep those children safe is to vaccinate them when they are eligible and surround them with siblings and parents who also get vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a news conference Friday.

4. You will emphasize the health system

By deliberately contracting any variant of SARS-CoV-2, which is the official name for the new coronavirus, “it will sustain the pandemic and stress the health care system,” Murphy said.

Over the weekend, nearly a quarter of the more than 5,000 hospitals that report to the US Department of Health and Human Services said they were experiencing “critical staffing shortages.” That’s a higher number than at any other time during the pandemic, the data showed.
Nearly a quarter of hospitals report critical staff shortages as Omicron fuels a surge in Covid-19 cases
The staff shortage is expected to increase further as frontline healthcare workers become infected or are forced to self-quarantine after being exposed to Covid-19. The healthcare staff shortage couldn’t have come at a worse time: More than 138,000 COVID-19 patients were in U.S. hospitals as of Saturday, according to HHS.

Additionally, HHS data found that ICUs across the country are more than 80% full, and nearly 30% of beds are used to treat COVID-19 patients. Elective surgeries are being cut and health care officials are concerned that the nation’s health system may not be able to do its job.

“The health care system is not designed just to care for people with covid. It is designed to care for children with appendicitis and people who have heart attacks and car accidents,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of the College. of Medicine from Brown University. Public Health, he told CNN on Sunday.

“And all of that is going to be much, much more difficult because we have a large proportion of the population that is not vaccinated, many high-risk people who are not vaccinated,” he added.

5. Don’t mess with mother nature

Was it ever a good idea to get a disease on purpose? Those of a certain age will remember when parents used to throw “chicken pox parties” to expose their young children to an infected child. Because chickenpox in adults is more serious, the idea was for your child to catch it early to “get over it.”

What the US can Expect Following the Rise of Covid, Expert Says

“Oh that was a bad idea too,” Offit said. He told a story about an educational vaccine film he made years ago, and the cameraman revealed that he had a sister who had taken her son to a chickenpox party. Tragically, the boy died from the infection.

“Don’t mess with mother nature,” he said. “She has been trying to kill us since we came out of the ocean to land.”


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