Should You Deliberately Infect Yourself With Covid-19?

 

A friend wrote this about his growing frustration and despair with the lack of resolution of the coronavirus :

I have been all-in, doing my part.  Not getting infected.  Not spreading it.  But I wonder.  What’s worse; the disease or the cure?

Although I’ve always viewed “Chickenpox Parties” and other Neanderthal-level decisions of the past with disdain, I’m thinking; “Wow – is it time now”?  If you ask me what decision/action entity has a better chance of dealing with Covid, the medical community or the human body, today I’d say the latter, unfortunately.

Other people have made similar comments, and I surely understand the growing sense of inevitability about the virus and the concept of just biting the bullet and accepting the inevitable.

There certainly have been apparent cases of Covid-parties where people deliberately tried to get infected with the virus, presumably so they could get it “over and done with”, get immunity, and no longer need to live in fear of the virus and return back to a normal type of life.

The concept of these parties dates back to prior to when the US started to vaccinate against chickenpox, when parents would take their children for a playdate with another child who had chickenpox, in the hope their child would get infected, and once cured of the disease, not need to worry about it any more.

But there are two huge differences between a chickenpox party and a coronavirus party.

Once you’ve had chickenpox, you’re pretty much immune for life.  But the immunity you get after a Covid-19 infection is probably much more short-lived.  It could be as little as a month, or none at all, and if you became infected a second time, the second time might even be more severe than the first time.  So you’re not necessarily buying yourself much of a virus-free future at all.

The second reason is that chickenpox rarely had severe or life-threatening or long-lasting complications.  Covid-19 is sometimes fatal.  While usually most people are cured from Covid-19 in under two weeks, some people – as many as one third –  have much longer lasting cases, going on four or more months (we don’t yet know how long due to the newness of the disease).

But at least the people with long-lasting infections continue to hope for a cure.  Some people end up with permanent heart or lung damage (different studies report very different findings, but as a rule of thumb, about 10% with lung damage), or possibly damage to other body organs and functions.

So, do you want to risk possible death, an illness lasting many months, and permanent damage to your body, all in return for maybe two or three months of immunity before then being again at risk of infection?

That really doesn’t seem to have any benefit at all, and a huge amount of downside risk.

Please don’t consider attending a Covid party, and even though you too might be starting to despair about the mess our public health officials have made of the situation so far, perhaps that is all the more reason, rather than less reason, to continue trying your best to avoid becoming infected.  Let’s all hope for a better solution – easy certain cures, or an effective long-lasting vaccine.

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David.

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