Australia COVID Omicron Update: People are deliberately trying to catch COVID. Here are five reasons why this is a bad idea

The question hung in the air like a stench, silencing a small group of fully hunkered down and bolstered friends and family at the dinner table.

Why not just get an Omicron and get rid of it? It’s light, isn’t it? Can it boost immunity? “

He was a well vaccinated and well educated friend who asked an honest question and echoed the opinions heard on many social platforms.

Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said with a sigh that the idea of ​​intentionally trying to catch Omicron was “outrageous.”

Dr. Robert Murphy, MD, executive director of the Haffee Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, agrees, “It caught like wildfire.”

Top doctors warn you should never “get infected.” credit: marina pictures/Getty Images

“It’s pervasive, coming from all kinds of people, vaccinators, boosters, anti-vaccators,” he cautioned.

“You’d be crazy if you tried to get hit with this. It’s like playing with dynamite.”

In case the idea has crossed your mind, here are five reasons why you shouldn’t intentionally try to catch an Omicron.

1. It’s Not a “Bad Cold”

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

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

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

File photo: a rapid antigen test stick.
File photo: a rapid antigen test stick. credit: shutter/Getty Images / istockphoto

However, even people without any underlying health conditions can develop severe disease, Murphy said.

“I now have a vaccinated patient who is doing well – over 65 with no underlying risk factors – who is in the hospital and doing poorly.”

It’s true that if you pick up the Omicron variant of COVID-19, as opposed to the Delta variant, “you’re less likely to be hospitalized, less likely to go to the ICU, less likely to be put on a ventilator and less likely to die — and this is true for all age groups, Offit said.

“But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a serious disease,” Offit added.

“It’s just less severe. But you don’t have a 0 percent chance of dying. You should never get infected.”

2. You can get a long COVID

Loss of smell (and thus sense of taste) has become one of the most common symptoms in mild cases of Covid-19.

Studies show that about 80 percent of people recover this ability within a month or so, but others are still unable to smell or taste after six months or more. An unfortunate few may never recover these two cases.

As upsetting as it may be, it is only one of a number of health issues that can persist and persist after a case of COVID-19.

This phenomenon is called “long COVID,” and is characterized by debilitating symptoms such as shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, fever, dizziness, brain fog, diarrhea, heart palpitations, muscle and abdominal pain, mood changes and difficulty sleeping.

A medical worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.  file image.
A medical worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. file image. credit: Tatan Sioflana/AP

Severe forms of prolonged COVID can damage your lungs, heart, and kidneys, as well as your mental health, and may be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal laws.

“We’ve been trying to understand COVID for a long time,” Offit said.

“Because we don’t understand it, I wouldn’t be so quick to want to get an infection from a natural virus.

“A natural virus has always been called a wild virus, and there’s a good reason for that: It’s out of control,” Offit said.

“You never risk getting an infection from a natural virus.”

3. You are spreading disease among children

More than half (54 percent) of children aged 12-17 years who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines have been fully vaccinated.

Only 23 percent of children ages 5 to 11 received their first dose, according to the CDC.

Because the booster doses — a major battle-stall in the fight against Omicron — were just approved by the CDC for children under 12 last week, few kids have received that third shot.

More than half of children aged 12-17 years have been fully vaccinated.
More than half of children aged 12-17 years have been fully vaccinated. credit: Catherine Delahey/Getty Images

This means that any risky behavior that may expose you to Omicron, such as not wearing a mask, not following social distancing guidelines, or gathering with crowds, especially indoors, is likely to expose others who may transmit the virus to their children.

Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows an upward trend in childhood infections, which far exceeds the “peak of previous epidemic waves.”

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

“This number is a 78 percent increase from the 325,000 added cases reported in the week ending December 30 and the number of cases has nearly tripled from the previous two weeks,” the AAP stated.

COVID-19 infections in children have usually been mild so far in the pandemic, but the sheer volume of cases from the highly contagious variant Omicron is sending children under 18 to hospitals in record numbers, according to data from the CDC.

“I would say the best way to keep these children protected is to vaccinate them because they are eligible and to have their siblings and parents vaccinated themselves,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walinsky said at a news conference Friday.

4. You will stress the health care system

By picking up any type of SARS-CoV-2, which is the official name for the novel coronavirus, Murphy said, “you will keep the epidemic going and put pressure on the health care system.”

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 a “severe staffing shortage.”

The data showed that this is a larger number than at any other time during the pandemic.

Staff shortages are expected to increase further as frontline healthcare workers become infected or forced into quarantine after exposure to COVID-19.

NSW ambulances stand in the reception bay of the emergency department at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney.
NSW ambulances stand in the reception bay of the emergency department at Liverpool Hospital in Sydney. credit: Bianca de Marchi/AAPIMAGE

The dearth of healthcare staff could not come at a worse time — more than 138,000 COVID-19 patients were in US hospitals as of Saturday, according to HHS.

Additionally, HHS data found that intensive care units across the country are more than 80 percent full, with nearly 30 percent of beds being used to treat COVID-19 patients.

Elective surgeries are being cut short, and health care officials fear the country’s health system will not be able to do its job.

“The health care system isn’t just designed to care for people with COVID. It’s designed to care for children with appendicitis and people who have heart attacks and who have car accidents,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, told CNN Sunday.

“All of this is going to be much more difficult because we have a large proportion of the population that has not been vaccinated, and a lot of high-risk people who have not been boosted,” he added.

5. Don’t Mess With Mother Nature

Was it a good idea to get sick on purpose? Those of a certain age will remember when parents used to host “chickenpox parties” to expose their young children to an infected child.

Since cases of chickenpox in adults are more serious, the idea was to get your child to catch it early to “beat it”.

“Oh, that was a bad idea too,” Offit said.

He told a story about an educational movie about vaccinations he made years ago, and the photographer revealed that he had a sister who took her baby to a chicken pox party.

Tragically, the child died of the infection.

“Don’t mess with Mother Nature,” he said.

“She’s been trying to kill us since we crawled out of the ocean to land.”

The Prime Minister addresses the parties concerned with the Corona virus

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also spoke of the spread of ‘COVID parties’ after the National Cabinet on Thursday.

Parties that Australians attend with the sole purpose of catching the virus in order to ‘beat it off’ are becoming more common during the Omicron infection wave.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The National Cabinet has expanded the definition of essential workers to help with supply chain issues. credit: AAP

“I also want to point out that a back injury on Omicron could happen. All this nonsense about Covid parties is absurd,” Morrison said on Thursday.

“So, if you think you can go out there and get the virus and beat it, that’s not how it works. This is not how the virus writes the rules.

“Keep on taking precautions, continue to exercise common sense, continue to take responsibility and manage your health and the basic measures in place to support you and the health of others.”

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo