No, you shouldn’t intentionally get infected with the new coronavirus, says London, Ont. epidemiologist


Intentionally infecting yourself with the new coronavirus is a very, very bad idea, and you shouldn’t do it.

This message from London, Ontario. epidemiologist Greta Bauer may seem obvious, but it appears that some are not receiving the memo.

The professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Western University wrote Wednesday in the New York Times that she and other epidemiologists had heard “rumors” about people intentionally refraining from physical distance, or considering the idea of ​​hosting the COVID-19 equivalent of chickenpox evenings.

Among the reasons, Bauer writes that some seek to strengthen population immunity, or want to become immunized themselves so that they can return to work or serve their communities, while others are simply tired of be locked up at home.

No such celebrations have been reported by local health authorities.

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While it’s not surprising that people are looking for solutions – it’s normal for people to be afraid or frustrated or to want to find ways to help their families and communities, says Bauer – the problem is that there still has many unknowns around COVID-19.

“I think they’ve absorbed the information on mortality rates, and they understand that it’s less likely if you’re young, and that’s what some people argue about chickenpox,” said Bauer told Global News Radio 980 CFPL Thursday.

“Anyone over a certain age remembers a time when there was no vaccine and it was generally accepted that it was safer to get it when you were younger. But it’s not chickenpox, and we don’t know a lot about it either. ”

Coronavirus worldwide: April 9, 2020

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In particular, it is not even clear whether immunity against the new coronavirus is a guarantee, and if so, how long it could last.

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The idea of ​​collective immunity depends on people with lifelong or at least long-term immunity, says Bauer, adding that the new coronavirus may be seasonal.

“Is the second case going to be milder?” Or is it going to be more extreme? There are examples of viruses that work in each of these ways, ”she said.

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“We even have examples of people who appear to be re-infected soon after their first infection. We don’t know if these are real re-infections or test errors, or remissions and relapses. ”

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The type of long-term damage the virus can cause to the heart or lungs and how long it stays in the body are also unknown. The same herpes virus that causes chickenpox, for example, can reappear in adulthood as shingles.

“Everyone seems to assume that with this new virus, that when the infection is gone, the virus is gone. And we don’t know either. “

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that Canadians will have to stay at home and physically away for months, as the first wave of cases will not end until summer.

No return to “normal” until the coronavirus vaccine is available, says Trudeau

Trudeau added that things will not return to normal across the country until there is a vaccine, which could take a year or a year and a half.

“While it is really difficult to be patient, I think it is important to think about the speed at which science is evolving and to understand that in a month or two months we will know much more about it than we currently do. Said Bauer.

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“Now is not the time to think about an intentional infection. “

– With files from the Associated Press

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you should know:

Health authorities warn against all international travel. Returning travelers are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning on March 26, in case they develop symptoms and prevent the spread of the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented recommendations or additional enforcement measures to ensure the self-isolation of people returning to the region.

Symptoms may include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or the flu. Some people may develop a more serious illness. Those most at risk are the elderly and people with serious chronic conditions such as heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend washing your hands frequently and coughing up your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying at home as much as possible, and keeping two meters away from others if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage by Global News, click here.

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