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Epidemiologist Explains Exactly Why Deliberately Trying To Contract The Virus Is A 'Really Horrible Idea Right Now'

As portions of the country shelter in place to avoid worsening the global pandemic, there are some fringe thinkers out there who believe they should be trying to intentionally contract the virus.

Though many of these people claim it will get society closer to "herd immunity" or, at the very least, build up their own defenses, experts warn attempting to get the virus is "a really horrible idea right now."


In a column for The New York Times, Greta Bauer, a professor of epidemiology from Western University in London, Ontario, Canada broke down why trying to get sick is so dumb and may end up costing lives rather than saving them.

Bauer has observed some people even holding parties to try and spread the disease in hopes of building up community immunity to the virus.

However, according to Bauer, there's still too much unknown about the virus to count on that.

She commented:

"[Immunity] isn't a sure thing...reinfection could be possible."

With such a new disease, there could also be long-term consequences we've yet to see.

Bauer warned "the virus could continue living inside you."

And while the virus's comparatively low danger to children has been well publicized, Bauer says "even the young can be hospitalized" and that even the mild cases are "hardly mild."

While it's tempting to try and find a faster way out of this crisis, Bauer advised there is "no shortcut," saying:

"While it is hard to be patient, the best way out of this will likely be much clearer to us in a month or two than it is now. In the meantime, it is important that we don't take unnecessary risks with unknown consequences. If we can avoid infection, we need to do exactly that."

So if you're thinking about going out and trying to get the virus, stop right there and reconsider! The scientists have spoken.

The book Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It is available here.