Omicron update: why you should avoid it if you can

With cases rising, some people are wondering if they should just get it to get over it

BOISE, Idaho – Omicron is the most contagious variant of covid-19 to date and millions of people, vaccinated and unvaccinated, are getting it during the current outbreak.

Dr Anthony Fauci told a White House briefing yesterday that Omicron will eventually infect “just about everyone”.

While research shows it’s milder than other coronavirus variants in most people, Yale’s Akiko Iwasaki told Reuters we shouldn’t underestimate the virus.

RELATED: Biden to double free COVID tests, add N95s, to fight omicron

Here are some reasons:

  • Doctors say it’s not just a ‘bad cold’, especially for unvaccinated people.
  • With the spread of this virus, that means more people will become seriously ill. Experts like Dr. Fauci say that sooner or later we will all be exposed, but later is better because we will have better targeted vaccines and drugs.
  • While some people may have a mild case. It can still spread to others who may be at high risk for serious illness. Or it could be passed on to children who, depending on their age, might not even be eligible for a covid vaccine or booster.
  • The potential for “long COVIDs” and post-viral issues still exists. Earlier variants of the coronavirus sometimes caused lingering and often debilitating symptoms for months, even if people didn’t get that sick initially. Iwasaki says we still don’t know the “long-term effects” of Omicron. There is no data yet on the percentage of people with omicron who end up becoming “long haulers”.

“One of the main reasons we’ve been trying to avoid getting COVID for two years is the impact on our health care system,” David Ho, a professor at Columbia University, told Reuters.

Hospitals are overwhelmed with record numbers of patients and record numbers of staff are discharged with COVID. Across the United States, hospitals are again postponing non-covid surgeries and treatments. Also, COVID treatments are scarce, so the fewer people who are sick, the better.

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