After nearly two years of helping Australians avoid catching COVID-19, health officials and medical experts have expressed alarm over a new trend in which people are actively trying to infect – or infect – others. are getting infected.
According to various TikTok videos and influential posts, the rationale behind the trend is to contract the virus and “speed up the process”, hence avoiding extended isolation.
In the video above, NSW introduces new restrictions amid COVID surge
In a social media video, a Queensland woman from Queensland tries to get the virus by intentionally sharing her COVID-positive daughter’s glass of orange juice.
“When you’re COVID positive, and mom tries to drink your OJ and gets COVID as soon as possible, we’re not in extended iso,” read the caption of the video.
Meanwhile, influential and former elder brother Contestant, Tully Smyth, shocked her followers when she announced her decision to move in with her COVID-positive boyfriend, in the hopes of “catching it sooner rather than later.”
Ms Smith defended her decision after a public backlash.
“Chances are I already have it and by coming here and being isolated, I’m less likely to give it to my housewife,” she said.
And on the Gold Coast, there are reports that anti-vaxxers are organizing “COVID parties” to expose themselves to the virus.
Bruce Willett, faculty chair at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Queensland, slammed the behavior on Wednesday, saying intentionally sharing 2GB of COVID-19 “makes absolutely no sense”.
“Such behavior threatens to overwhelm medical services,” he said.
“They will get immunity to COVID, but it is no better than getting vaccinated and at exceptionally high risk.
“They would still be vulnerable to getting COVID down the track. At some stage or the other, they will need a booster like the rest of us,” he told the broadcaster.
Health officials in Switzerland were so concerned with the trend that they declared that intentionally trying to get the virus was punishable by five years in prison.
The consequences can be fatal. In Italy, a person died of the virus after attending a ‘Covid party’ to catch it and build up immunity while recovering.
logic with dangerous flaws
Professor Adrian Esterman, an epidemiologist at the University of South Australia, warned that the consequences of such efforts could be dangerous and long-lasting.
“This ‘let’s get infected’ approach has several flaws,” Professor Esterman said.
“There’s still some delta for starters, and it more easily leads to serious illness.
“And even with Omicron, although most people will have a very mild illness, some will become seriously ill, even when they are young and healthy.”
Professor Esterman also said that such behavior put those around the person at risk and could have long-term health implications for those who contracted the virus.
“These people are putting the elderly and those with compromised immune systems at risk because of increased transmission,” he said.
He warned that about 37 percent of those infected are likely to end up with long-term health problems.
‘They would get better immune protection from vaccination’ – epidemiologist Professor Adrian Esterman
There is also bad news for those trying to catch the virus to build immunity, as Professor Esterman says this strategy is not effective either.
“They would get better immune protection from vaccination rather than recovering from the infection,” he said.
An Australian Paramedics Association spokesman told 7NEWS.com.au that the healthcare system is “extremely stressed” and does not need unnecessary additional cases.
“We are already facing a record number of triple-0 calls as well as staffing shortages and long wait times outside hospitals,” she said.
“Any health worker would be devastated to think that the tedious work we are doing may be undermined by people failing to take seriously the serious risks posed by COVID-19. ,
NSW Ambulance said its services were experiencing “unprecedented demand”, which peaked on New Year’s Day after receiving a record 5120 triple-0 calls.
“Currently the seven-day rolling average is about 4500 triple-0 calls per day,” she said.
“Like other employers, NSW Ambulance is facing staffing challenges linked to the pandemic, with some workers on furlough and sick leave.”