People catching omicron to ‘get it over with’ worries health professionals

Coronavirus

HARLINGEN, Texas (KGBT) — Many across the U.S. get their information about COVID-19 online, but there is a new worry on social media: People wanting to get COVID-19 to “get it over with.”

“We have to be careful with misinformation, whether it’s intentional or unintentional, can cause a lot of harm,” said Dr. Jose Campo Maldonado, Infectious Disease Specialist at Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen, Texas.

Maldonado does not agree with the idea of people deliberately catching omicron to boost their immunity.

“It can send you to the hospital, get you sick for a very long time at the minimum, or maybe you’re lucky it’s a short time, or it can kill you,” he said.

Maldonado said people can react differently to COVID-19, which is why intentionally catching it could put you at risk. 

“You don’t know if you’re going to have a severe illness and then get hospitalized or die, especially if you have risk factors, so the concept of herd immunity — that is what some people are expecting to reach — this is not the right way to get to that,” said Maldonado.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it expects that people infected with the omicron variant can spread it to others even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms. However, the agency said, “More data are needed to know if Omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.”

Maldonado also explained that missing work for five days to quarantine will only cause a worker shortage in many industries already hurting. He suggests getting the vaccine to prevent severe illness from the virus.

“Ideally, the perfect vaccine will prevent you from getting even a mild illness. But because it doesn’t, it doesn’t mean the vaccine is not a good one,” he said.

Maldonado said omicron is much more transmissible than other variants, adding that people should be careful about the information they find on social media.

“The level of responsibility about the way we communicate and transmit information is even higher than it was before because of this globalization of information, so be aware of that,” said Maldonado.

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