“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.”
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
“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
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.”
“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.
“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.
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.”
“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.”