Why Getting COVID on Purpose Is a Dangerous Idea

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Jan. 13, 2022 — As COVID-19 cases from Omicron in the United States have skyrocketed to what seems like new records every other day, speculation is rising among some experts and scientific novices alike that infection for many seems unavoidable.

In a Senate hearing Tuesday, acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, even told the panel, “most people are going to get COVID.”

In mid-December, World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, said vaccines alone won’t protect us against Omicron. In late December, an epidemiologist told BBC News: “We have to be realistic; we are not going to stop Omicron.”

Now, posts are popping up on social media resurrecting ideas similar to chickenpox parties, where you intentionally mingle with infected people. One restaurant in Italy is charging $150 for a chance to not only get fine wine with your dinner, but COVID-19, too.

So, if it’s highly likely everyone will be infected, why not listen to the chatter out there, just get infected on purpose, and get it over with?

Because it’s a really bad idea, public health experts say.

“No, it is not inevitable that everybody will get Omicron infection,” said Greg Poland, MD, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, MN, and editor-in-chief of the journal Vaccine. “There may well be higher rates of infection and high rates of exposure, but vaccinated, boosted, and mask-wearing individuals have a very high chance of protecting themselves from infections.”

Becoming infected requires a chain of events that is not inevitable, he says.

“I think that it is certainly spreading like crazy,” says Aaron Glatt, MD, chief of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau in Oceanside, NY. “It is highly contagious and is going to impact even the vaccinated

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