’You'd be crazy to try to get infected with this': Is Dr. Murphy right about catching Omicron on purpose?


Fact Box

  • Dr. Robert Murphy, Northwestern University’s executive director of Havey Institute for Global Health warned people of the Omicron variant on January 5, 2022, saying. “You’d be crazy to get infected with this [...] You don’t know the long-term effects of [the virus], even if you’ve been vaccinated. Some people are genetically predisposed to having worse disease. It’s not worth the risk”
  • The CDC reported the Omicron variant is the cause of 782,766 new cases, which is an increase of 33.2% from the previous week. 
  • On January 4, 2022, the CDC reported that data shows that most SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs in the early stages of infection between “one day before symptom onset and declines within one week of symptom onset, with an average period of infectiousness and risk of transmission between 2-3 days before and 8 days after symptom onset.” 
  • The CDC released new COVID-19 quarantine recommendations on December 27, 2021, shortening the isolation period from 10 days to five days given no symptoms or lessening symptoms (without fever). 
  • As of January 15, 2022, 208.8 million people have been vaccinated in the United States which is 62.9% of the population, while 74.8% have had at least one dose.

Samir (No)

The coronavirus pandemic seems to have no end, with the Omicron variant resulting in record-breaking infections worldwide. Dr. Robert Murphy of the Havey Institute for Global Wealth says that 'you'd be crazy to try to get infected with this.'

The coronavirus vaccines have brought hospitalization and death rates to record lows, with the loss of lives confined to single digits in places with timely data. The data basically confirms that getting vaccinated is the best defense against coronavirus. They won't prevent you from getting infected, but they will save lives (and hospital space).

Businesses have suffered. Cases of domestic violence shot up in the earlier days. People have been told to sacrifice their lives, even their livelihoods, by adopting social distancing and other restrictions. Those measures made sense if there was no workable vaccine in sight, but now that is no longer the case. 

Given this data, saving lives is now a matter of making life more convenient for some. So, while Dr. Murphy says don't catch Omicron on purpose, there needs to be awareness that people are social animals. They need to go back to normalcy to keep their sanity intact. No one in their right mind wants to catch Omicron on purpose. Still, with the advances in vaccine distribution and their efficacy, the world is better positioned to live with the coronavirus without taxing the resources of the medical and governmental sectors. There's no telling when this pandemic will ever end.

Morgan (Yes)

The world still doesn't know all of the long-term side effects of COVID-19, and just because one gets over the virus doesn't mean they'll be side-effect-free for the remainder of their life. While some patients may recover fully, 15% to 80% of patients will suffer from what is known as Long COVID, 'new, returning or ongoing health problems people may experience more than four weeks after being first infected,' according to AMA Center for Health Equity. Some of the long-term side effects of COVID-19 include fatigue, chest pain, loss of smell and taste, joint pain, and organ damage, and more, according to the Mayo Clinic

Even if you're vaccinated, the virus could still cause these long-term side effects or death. Although many of those hospitalized are unvaccinated individuals, some vaccinated and boosted are still doing very poorly in the hospital, even dying. Being vaccinated isn't always a gateway to an easy recovery.

It's no secret that hospitals and healthcare workers are overworked. Intentionally infecting yourself with COVID just to 'get it over with' could lead to you being hospitalized, which puts even more of a strain on already overworked healthcare workers. Testing positive puts a strain on those in your life whom you may have exposed, and it leaves more work for your coworkers who have to pick up the slack while you're home quarantining or in the hospital. Getting intentionally sick also disrupts schools and businesses. Deliberately contracting the virus, with no knowledge of how it will affect you, puts more pressure on our already pandemic-ridden nation.

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