Catching covid on purpose to ‘get rid of’ is a bad idea, warns Natália Pasternak – 01/18/2022

The microbiologist says that, even if the micron is lighter, the idea of ​​getting infected to become immune is based on false premises and brings health risks both from an individual and collective point of view.

The preliminary information that the omicron variant would cause a milder covid and with a lower risk of complications served to give strength to arguments such as: “better to get infected soon, or on purpose, to get rid of the disease and go on with life with less restrictions “.

In the view of microbiologist Natália Pasternak, president of the Instituto Questão de Ciência, the idea is “terrible”, is based on “false premises” and can jeopardize individual and collective health.

The expert is not alone in this assessment. No national or international health entity recommends this practice — vaccination remains the safest and most effective way to obtain immunity against the coronavirus, especially against the most serious forms of the infection, which lead to hospitalization and death.

The doctor Drauzio Varella also addressed the matter and made a similar warning in a column in Carta Capital magazine entitled “Escape the ômicron”.

“Some wonder if it wouldn’t be better to take this less aggressive variant at once. Not better, no,” he wrote.

Already on Twitter, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and public health expert Devi Sridhar, from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, promoted a debate and warned of the challenge that the wave of the omicron could mean for several countries – one more factor that weighs against a attempted “intentional infection”.

“As countries ride through the current wave of the omicron, healthcare systems will be challenged. Most severe cases will be in unvaccinated people,” Gates wrote.

They both agreed that when the wave of the omicron ends, Covid-19 may be more like the seasonal flu, but we’re not at that stage yet.

Check out the arguments against the idea of ​​taking the omicron willingly.

1. This isn’t a new idea—and it hasn’t worked in the past

Pasternak recalls that, a few decades ago, when there were no vaccines, parents used to promote the so-called “parties” of measles, chickenpox or rubella.

In short, the idea was for an infected child to transmit the virus to others. As these diseases are usually milder in childhood, the practice could, in theory, create immunity and avoid greater problems in adolescence or adulthood.

“These parties were extremely risky, because it is not possible to know which child will get the measles and will have a lighter picture or die”, he explains.

“Measles deaths in the first years of life are rare, but they also happen”, he points out.

And this same reasoning can apply to covid, as you can see in the next topic.

2. Covid is not always milder

The microbiologist understands that the evidence that the micron causes a milder infection is still very early.

“These studies were carried out in animals and we cannot transfer this information to human beings”, he says.

“What we see in practice so far is that, in a population of vaccinated people, the ômicron causes a less serious disease. In the non-vaccinated, however, the variant is hospitalizing and killing”, he differentiates.

In other words, even if we start to see fewer hospitalizations, due to the advance of vaccination and the spread of the omicron, covid is still far from being compared to a simple cold.

3. Even mild frames can cause inconvenience

For starters, even a mild acute infection, which drags on for days, has immediate consequences in people’s lives, such as absence from work for the recovery period.

But there are medium and long-term effects that also need to be weighed.

Pasternak uses his own experience to show how complicated the effects of this disease are.

“I got covid a month ago, most likely it was the ômicron variant. And until today I haven’t recovered my sense of smell”, he reports.

“It’s obvious that being without smelling is much better than being hospitalized and intubated, but I would prefer that it hadn’t happened”, he adds.

The microbiologist recalls that many patients have complaints for a long time after infection.

“There are people who have pain in the joints or in the head for months. They are unpleasant sequelae, even if they do not cause hospitalization”, he says.

4. Nobody knows what will happen over the years

The long-term effects of covid-19, by the way, are still a great mystery to science.

Studies published so far estimate that between 10 and 30% of those affected by the disease experience discomfort that lasts for several months.

And no one knows how this could affect health for years, or decades, from now.

To illustrate this uncertainty and the risks for the future, Pasternak cites another disease caused by a virus: chicken pox.

“It was always seen as a benign disease. After all, everyone had chickenpox,” he recalls.

“Today we know that this virus remains in the body even after infection and can be activated after several years. When this happens, the person has herpes zoster, a condition that causes a lot of pain and suffering”, he describes.

Could the coronavirus responsible for the current pandemic have any long-term effects? It is not known.

When in doubt, therefore, it is better not to expose yourself to risk on purpose, guides the microbiologist.

5. You can transmit to vulnerable people

The covid takes days to show the first symptoms – and some infected don’t even feel any discomfort.

Even so, these individuals have the ability to transmit the virus forward if they don’t take some precautions, such as isolation, maintaining physical distance and wearing quality masks, such as PFF2.

In other words: if you are vaccinated, are younger and have no comorbidity, the risk of complications from covid is even lower, but nothing prevents you from passing the disease on to someone who will develop more serious problems.

“There is a portion of the population that is more vulnerable, such as the elderly and unvaccinated people”, exemplifies Pasternak.

The specialist also highlights the care of children, one of the age groups that, according to some international records, are being hospitalized more often now in this new wave.

Vaccination for those between 5 and 11 years old began in January in Brazil. For those who are even younger, there are no approved immunizers in the country yet.

“These are groups that do not have the same protection and that can develop serious cadres”, he informs.

6. You can overload the healthcare system

The advancement of the omicron variant is behind records of new cases of covid-19 recorded in recent times.

To give you an idea, in the second week of January, the world surpassed the mark of 18 million infected – the highest number previously recorded was 5 million patients, in a period of seven days in April 2021.

In Brazil, after a second half of 2021 marked by drops in covid statistics, the numbers of cases have grown again and are already approaching the worst moments of the pandemic.

In practice, this represents a huge challenge: more people with covid is synonymous with increased demand for the entire health system.

“By catching covid on purpose, you can contribute to further straining this system,” warns Pasternak.

“Even a milder illness means an increase in demand for testing, emergency rooms, outpatient clinics, care beds and the need for health professionals”, he lists.

7. There is no certainty of lasting immunity

Finally, the microbiologist warns: there is nothing that guarantees that immunity against covid will last for life.

In fact, the very spread of the omicron shows that it is possible to have the disease more than once: the rate of reinfection in places like South Africa and the United Kingdom has never been as high as it is now.

“Who said that by deliberately catching covid, you will get rid of it forever? We can’t guarantee that”, he explains.

“It may be that you get the omnin now and get infected with another variant that manages to escape previous immunity in the future”, completes the microbiologist.

Therefore, it is important that everyone continues to be careful and avoid covid-19 as much as possible.

According to the world’s leading health authorities, the best ways to prevent the disease and its most serious forms are to take two or three doses of vaccine, wear good quality masks (such as PFF2), maintain a physical distance from people who are not part of your daily life, avoid agglomerations, try to arrange meetings and meetings in open places and take care of air circulation in closed places.

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She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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