Why It’s a Bad Idea to Try to Get COVID

Wednesday, January 5, 2022 – COVID-19 infection is not a game, and you shouldn’t try to get it on purpose – not even the “mild” Omicron variant of the virus.

Medical experts agree it’s a high-risk strategy for you, your public health, and the economy.

“You’d be crazy if you tried to get this,” said Dr. Robert Murphy, MD, executive director of the Haffee Institute for Global Health at Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Murphy said people called him and asked why they shouldn’t go out and try to catch the virus to beat it.

“You don’t know the long-term effects of the virus, even if you’ve been vaccinated,” Murphy said in a press release. “Some people are genetically predisposed to developing a worse disease.

“It’s like playing with dynamite. Who needs that risk?”

Mercedes Carnethon, vice president of preventive medicine at the School of Medicine, said reports of a highly transmissible Omicron variant as being mild are fueling a sense of desperation about stopping transmission.

“The more accurate definition is that there appears to be less lung damage from infection from Omicron, and that vaccinated people tolerate it well,” Carnethon said in the statement.

“However, with hospitalization rates on the rise, there are a large number of people who do not do well with this ‘moderate’ alternative,” she said. “The vast majority of people who are in hospital are not immunized; However, some of them cannot be vaccinated or have weakened immunity. So, the impact is huge.”

Carnethon added that people who get paid by the hour are losing their income due to Omicron’s spread. She remembered a time when she was at a testing center next to a woman crying over a positive test result because she wouldn’t get paid if she couldn’t go back to work.

“The social and economic impacts are significant and potentially harmful because people lose their livelihoods for short periods of time,” Carnethon said.

To stay safe, Murphy recommends getting an N95 mask or wearing double surgical masks and staying 3 to 6 feet away from others.

“Make sure everyone gets tested quickly for COVID-19 before an event or meeting with others,” Murphy said. This is true even with a small group of immunized and reinforced people if you are going to be without masks.

Although cloth masks aren’t as effective as surgical masks, they do have some protective effect if they have multiple layers, Murphy said.

Resources

  • Northwestern Medicine, press release, January 4, 2022

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