ATLANTA — Doctors in Atlanta and around the country are warning patients that contracting COVID-19 intentionally is a terrible idea.
Physicians say patients have asked if they should get COVID on purpose to “get it over with.” Those doctors have reacted with shock.
“This is a terrible idea,” Dr. Jayne Morgan, the Clinical Director of the COVID Task Force at Piedmont Healthcare, said. “It’s a terrible time to consider a strategy such as this.”
During a measles outbreak three years ago in New York, parents held parties to expose their children in hopes that they would build natural immunities. Doctors warned against that.
Similarly, healthcare experts are concerned about people who believe the mild symptoms experienced with the omicron variant are an opportunity to expose themselves in order to obtain natural immunity.
Dr. Harry Heiman with Georgia State University has heard from young people who feel the odds of a severe case are low.
“Some people go, ‘most of the people ending up in the hospital and dying are older,’” Dr. Heiman said. “The emphasis there is on the word ‘most’, which means that there may be 10 to 20 percent, who have no underlying risk factors who get it ended up having a severe case.”
Dr. Morgan points out that omicron has presented challenges when it comes to treatment.
“We now only have one therapy that is effective against Omicron,” Dr. Morgan said. “That has created a supply shortage.”
Physicians say even with a mild case of COVID there are risks of long term problems.
“Prolonged fatigue, myalgia, and other problems,” Dr. Heiman added. “But also long standing lung and heart and kidney and other conditions that people will likely have to contend with for the rest of their lives.”
Czech folk singer Hana Horka died recently at the age of 57. Her family says she intentionally contracted COVID-19 so she could be "done with it.”