Doctors across the US have said there is a dangerous trend of people deliberately trying to get Omicron to ‘get over it’.
Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told CNN it’s “all the rage.” Other doctors, including Dr. Robert Murphy, executive director of the Heavy Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, have also seen the idea spread across the country. “You’d go crazy trying to get infected with this. It’s like playing with dynamite,” he said.
This trend has caught on not only with people getting most of their information on social media, but also with people who are considered to be fully vaccinated and very well educated.
Doctors are warning that Omicron is not a cold, and that milder cases can leave people lying in bed, with a sore throat and heavy congestion, as well as body aches and a high fever. “It’s a life-threatening disease,” Dr. Murphy said.
Bob Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said “getting an Omicron” is an experience that is best avoided.
“Lower your guard and it will bounce,” remarked the doctor.
People who are 65 years of age or older, or have a weakened immune system, diabetes or chronic kidney, heart, pulmonary, neurological or liver disease are at higher risk of COVID.
While doctors say you’re less likely to be hospitalized and die from it if you catch Omicron, on other strains, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious illness. “That doesn’t mean it can’t be a serious disease,” Offit said.
There is also a risk of being long-covid. According to a study by University of Michigan researchers in November, an estimated 100 million people worldwide have or have had Covid-19 for a long time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that symptoms can include severe fatigue, fever, dizziness, shortness of breath, brain fog, heart palpitations, muscle and abdominal pain, mood changes, diarrhea and sleeping difficulties.
COVID can cause permanent damage to the kidneys, lungs and heart and kidneys as well as mental health issues.
Another reason not to catch Omicron is so that you don’t spread it to people who are unvaccinated, more vulnerable, and may have a weakened immune system or underlying health conditions. The more cases, the greater the pressure on health services and the impact it will have on patients suffering from other serious conditions.
The US averages more than 700,000 new daily coronavirus cases – more than at any previous point in the pandemic. “The coming weeks are going to be challenging,” Jeffrey Ziants said at the White House in a press briefing on Jan. As of January 11, 80 per cent of ICU hospital beds across the country were occupied.