You Shouldn't Try To Catch COVID-19 & The Head Of Ontario's Science Table Says This Is Why

You can still negatively "hit the jackpot" if you're fully vaccinated and catch COVID-19.

Toronto Staff Writer
You Shouldn't Try To Catch COVID-19 & The Head Of Ontario's Science Table Says This Is Why

Being in a pandemic for nearly two years can be exhausting, but experts say Ontarians should still try to do their best to avoid catching COVID-19 and stick to the province's current public health measures that are in place so that the epidemiological situation doesn't get any worse.

Narcity spoke with the scientific director of Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, who says Ontarians shouldn't try to catch the Omicron variant just to get it over with and build up that natural immunity.

"Yeah, look, we're in the wrong part of the pandemic right now to start to experiment with these sorts of attitudes," Dr. Peter Jüni told Narcity.

The Omicron variant is far less virulent than the Delta variant and based on recent findings from Public Health Ontario, it is also 54% less likely to lead to death or hospitalization in comparison. But, even though catching the Omicron variant is comparatively not as serious as Delta, PHO also noted on December 31 that there still isn't enough data to "comment on severity of illness once in hospital or mortality."

Dr. Jüni says there are two reasons why Ontarians shouldn't be trying to catch the Omicron variant.

"First of all, we really all need to contribute now to interrupting the chains of transmissions so that our health care system is not completely overwhelmed. It's already bad enough," he said.

Some hospitals in the GTA, like Brampton Civic Hospital and Etobicoke General Hospital, have previously called for a "code orange" at their facilities due to a major rise of COVID-19 patients as well as staffing shortages. On top of that, the Ford administration announced there will be a pause on non-urgent surgeries in order to ease some of the strains that hospitals are dealing with due to the major uptick of COVID-19 admissions.

Even with two or three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Jüni says, "You could still hit the jackpot, but in a negative way" and still end up in the hospital.

"What you need to be aware of right now, this means you won't get optimal care anymore. You won't have all the drugs available that would be there, theoretically, if we weren't in the middle of a tidal wave," he shared.

"You will struggle with even, you know, getting a bed and having enough attention [from] hospital staff. So, it's just not the right time to gamble with something like that. It's a very bad idea."

According to the province's COVID-19 data, as of January 13, there are 3,630 people actively hospitalized with COVID-19, 500 of whom are in intensive care for the illness. Despite unvaccinated people making up just 16% of the population, they currently represent 45% of ICU cases.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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Although there are no official plans to change the definition of fully vaccinated in Ontario, the head of the province's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table has made a suggestion.

In an interview with CBC News posted on Saturday, January 22, Dr. Peter Jüni called on the provincial government to expand the term "fully vaccinated" to mean someone who has received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccination, rather than two.

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