As tends to happen during anything big and complicated, rumours and opinions about the COVID-19 pandemic are popping up all over the internet.
One of the persistent ones is that we could end the spread of the virus faster if people with healthy immune systems deliberately exposed themselves to the virus. The idea is that healthy people would get sick, recover, and build immunity to fight the virus, helping us get our social lives and our economy back on track — the coronavirus equivalent of a chickenpox party.
Everyone’s desperate to find a way to get things back to normal, and it’s easy to understand that people might run with the statistic that up to 70 per cent of Canadians could get infected to try to make that happen in a controlled way.
But experts say it’s actually a bad and a dangerous idea.
“You are being told in the strongest way in our nation’s history that I know of, to stay home,” Winnipeg-based epidemiologist Cynthia Carr told HuffPost Canada.
By seeking out an infection, even one you think you can control, “you are putting the people you care about at risk,” she said. “Don’t be part of the problem.”
Carr ran through the many reasons deliberate exposure is a bad idea.
We don’t know if you can only get the virus once
The idea of getting sick in order to “get it over with” is predicated on the idea that once you get COVID-19, you’ll never get it again.
But there’s a big problem with that: we don’t actually know if it’s true.
“We absolutely do not know that for sure,” Carr said. “We have no research at all to show that that is the case.”
There’s so much even the world’s top experts don’t yet understand about COVID-19, especially because it’s so new. “Typically, you need at least a year in order to determine your level of immunity,” Carr explained. We only have a few months’ worth of research about the novel coronavirus right now.
In China, several people who had recovered from the virus later tested...