Why not just ‘covid transfer’

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As de omicron variant continues to scour its way through cities, causing breakthrough infections in the fully vaccinated and some reinfections in some who have already had it, it can start to feel like everyone is getting sick.

If you’ve spared a bout of COVID-19 so far, while others you know have tested positive, you may have wondered: Should I just expose myself and shut it down?

No, since Dr. Chris Beyrer, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“There are several problems with this line of thinking,” Beyrer told CNET. First, he said, although your risk of getting COVID-19 is now rare if you are vaccinated and stimulated, some vaccinated people have bad cases of COVID-19. And if you are not vaccinated, that is a risk much higher. So why risk it on purpose?

Second, vaccinated people can still spread the virus, he said, putting others at risk who do not choose to be sick. Older adults, people who are immunocompromised or children under the age of 5 are especially at risk if you encounter them in your apartment building when you are isolating, or in the supermarket before you realize you are sick, for example.

Third, he says, is the risk long COVID, which develops in about 15% to 20% of people with a confirmed COVID-19 infection – including people who have had relatively mild cases. These symptoms can range from bothersome to debilitating and disruptive to daily life.

Is catching the virus that is causing a worldwide pandemic inevitable? With the omicron variant, Some experts have said, perhaps. But choosing to get sick just to get over it has consequences outside of you, even if you never know it.

Getting sick together: Like a chicken pox party?

“Smallpox parties” like parents deliberately exposing their children to chickenpox so they get young immunity were big before there was a vaccine for chickenpox, Beyrer said, adding that the generation that got chickenpox is now susceptible to shingles. . But there is no room for that mentality when it comes to COVID-19.

“COVID is now a significantly preventable disease,” he said.

As a scenario, we proposed this to Beyrer: Five fully vaccinated young adults in their 20s, who feel that they are generally healthy and are likely to have a mild case of COVID-19, decide to combine COVID-19 get to do it. What can happen?

While the chances are low for anyone in this group who gets really sick, Beyrer said, on average, one of them will develop their long COVID. And for neighbors of the group who isolate together, including people who are immunocompromised, elderly or under the age of 5, the cluster in the group can lead to serious illness.

“With a virus as contagious as omicron, these infections can propagate extensively,” Beyrer said. “And these five young people would probably never know who they might have hurt.”

Another thing to note is that COVID-19 is not a “one and done” disease for everyone, and many people are fighting it a second time after becoming ill during the pandemic. As the Cleveland Clinic notes, natural immunity decreases over time, as does non-enhanced vaccine immunity.

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Even though the pandemic may feel like it will never go away, trying to get infected puts you at unnecessary risk and strains our depleted health care system.

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Just because omicron causes less serious illness does not mean it is not serious

Omicron leads fewer hospital admissions and dead as delta, Beyrer said. But it is also much more contagious, causing the number of cases to skyrocket. And just because it causes less serious illness for the average person, does not mean it will for everyone.

“If you have so many millions of cases, deaths will also increase,” Beyrer said. “As we [are] look in the US now. “

The need to “flatten the curve” of people getting sick with COVID-19 to maintain hospital capacity for those who end up very ill is now just as strong as in the spring of 2020.

“We see all the costs for the health care system and for health workers,” Beyrer said. Hospital beds in 24 states were close to capacity, The New York Times reported Friday. But in addition to an increase in COVID-19 patients, more people becoming ill means more health workers becoming ill. If hospitals do not have enough staff to care for patients, they must “close a bed,” as the Wall Street Journal noted.

Will everyone eventually get COVID-19? When will COVID-19 become endemic?

Some health experts, including Drs. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Officer of President Biden, and Dr. Janet Woodcock, the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, made recent remarks that say, in principle, anyone will be exposed to or become ill with COVID-19. But they mean that this will happen this winter if the virus expected to peak again, or thereafter COVID-19 becomes endemic and more than a seasonal illness?

“The reality is that the non-vaccinated have a very high chance of getting infected – in South Africa this was more than 80% of all samples,” Beyrer said. The vaccinated (and some of the stimulants) are also likely to be exposed to the pure infectivity of the omicron variant, “but are much more likely to have either asymptomatic or mild infections, many of which will remain undiagnosed unless the person is being tested for one reason or another. “

The World Health Organization has warned that 50% of Europe could be infected with omicron in the coming weeks, which some experts think could pave the way for the US. But high numbers of COVID-19 infections do not necessarily indicate the end of a pandemic, because to become endemic, the virus needs some predictability, Catherine Smallwood, a WHO officer, told The New York Times. And COVID-19 is currently anything but stable.

Many models predict that COVID-19 rates will begin to decline rapidly by the end of January, Beyrer said, and we may see a much lower number of cases by March. But whether COVID-19 will cease to be a pandemic depends on a few factors, including whether vaccines and incentive rates go up, a vaccine for children under 5 is found and omicron is the latest variant of care, he said.

“That assumes there are no other variants coming up because omicron is declining,” Beyrer said. “An assumption that proved invalid with delta variant, as we all too painfully know.”

Byrer acknowledged the fatigue of experiencing a pandemic, and the feeling that it will never end. But, “We’re all tired,” he said. Actively trying to get sick now thinking that it will give you later immunity is harmful to the individual and harmful to the community, he said, and it will also “maintain chains of transmission and prolong the pain.”

Instead, people need to focus on their mental health, Beyrer said. People need to see family and friends “with as much care and security as they can.”

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider about any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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