Millions of people are testing positive with COVID-19 in the U.S. each week and the FDA warns that most Americans will get the virus at some point. With growing evidence that the omicron variant likely causes milder disease, some people may be thinking: Why not encourage omicron to infect us so we can enjoy life again?
That's not a good idea for many reasons, say infectious disease experts and doctors. Don't throw your mask away and do not even think about hosting a 1970s-style chicken pox party, the omicron version. Here's why:
"Even for boosted people, just because you don't end up in the hospital, you can still be pretty miserable for a few days," Dr. Ashish Jha, a physician and Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health said on All Things Considered. "Not sure why you need to seek that out."
While omicron seems to provoke milder illness for many people, "the truth is that it's probably somewhere in between what you think of as a common cold or flu and the COVID that we had before," says Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease physician at UChicagoMedicine. "And there are still a lot of risks of getting COVID."