COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - New data cited by the CDC from Kaiser Permanente says the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is 91 percent less likely to kill those infected, compared to Delta. And this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert said it's likely almost everyone is going to get Omicron.
That statistic and prediction from Dr. Fauci has some people wondering: should they try to catch highly-transmissible Omicron to get being infected over with? Doctors say, not so fast.
"Is it a good idea to try to get Omicron to get over this pandemic and get back to a normal life? The answer is unequivocally, no, it's not a good idea,” said Dr. Chris Thomson, Vice President & Physician Executive at Centura Health.
One of the reasons you shouldn't take that gamble is because you have no idea what variant you might catch, and there's never any guarantee about how your body will react to any virus.
"Every once in a while someone that -- and this has happened with Omicron as well -- might be younger, that might have no medical problems, becomes critically ill and even might die,” said Dr. Thomson.
Plus, we still don’t know what having Covid now could mean for our health in the future.
"I think intentionally trying to get Covid, worries me for the individual in their own health and potential risk, not only now, but perhaps down the road with illnesses or problems that we might not even be aware of yet," said Dr. Thomson. "It also would probably lend to extending this current wave"
Even though Omicron seems to be milder, it's still highly transmissible and could pose an unnecessary strain on hospitals and their staff.
"Let's say, even if it causes half of the hospitalizations from those who get infected, but it infects twice the number of people, we're still talking about the same number of individuals potentially coming into the hospital, even if we call it a milder illness," said Dr. Thomson. "So overwhelming or straining our resources at the population level for our health care systems or hospitals is definitely a concern."
New hospital admissions in the United States for December 28, 2021 to January 4, 2022 totaled 16,458. This is a 60.2 percent increase from the prior seven-day average.
"The sudden and steep rise in cases due to overcrowding, is resulting in unprecedented daily case counts, sickness, absenteeism, and strains on our healthcare system," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director.
Dr. Thomson says right now one in 10 people in Colorado has Covid, and stats show nearly 100 percent of cases in our state are Omicron.
He says while masking, vaccines, and social distancing are not perfect tools, they all continue to give you the best chance to avoid the virus or have only mild illness.