Home Travel No, You Shouldn’t Try To Get COVID-19 Just So You Can Travel Again

No, You Shouldn’t Try To Get COVID-19 Just So You Can Travel Again

by joeheg

There are a few questions in life that have non-equivocal answers:

  1. No, you shouldn’t give that person on the phone your bank account number
  2. No, you shouldn’t drink bleach or any other household disinfectant
  3. No, you shouldn’t try to get infected with COVID-19 in order to travel again

What leads me to write this post was reading Matthew on Live and Let’s Fly write that he would willingly get infected, and the risks thereof, just so he could travel again without restrictions.

I tend to give writers the benefit of the doubt, Not everyone has the same opinion on things and I usually think that’s good. Differences of opinion are needed to keep the blogging community on its toes. If we all agreed about everything, that wouldn’t be any fun for anyone.

But the subject of his post and the hypotheticals Matthew present are just plain wrong.

I sat there reading and just shaking my head. I couldn’t see how what he was saying made any sense. Not only that, but it was also plain scary to hear someone say it.

I’m not about to inject myself with bleach, but if I had to risk a 1-2% chance of dying in exchange for traveling around the world, I’d take the risk. My wife is onboard with it too. Life is full of inherent risks. Every choice in life is a cost-benefit analysis. The key, of course, is to make informed choices. Thoughtful choices. Discerning choices.

You’d be willing to take a 2% chance of dying from pneumonia, heart attack, stroke or any of the other ways COVID-19 kills people just for the ability to travel again. Saying your wife is on board makes it no better.

Back to his basis for this decision. If countries are going to require proof of immunity, he wants to get that ASAP! He even goes into how he thinks the process will go.

I’d retreat to a hotel, inject myself with the virus (not that it can be injected, again, we are just having a theoretical discussion), and let it take its effect. For three weeks I’d remain quarantined…longer if necessary. I’m not talking about a vaccine, I’m talking about the full-on virus. And I know the result would not necessarily be binary: I could end up with lasting lung damage or other permanent handicaps.

Where to start. People are staying at home except for essentials. The global economy is in a recession or maybe even a depression to help protect people from catching COVID-19. Why? Because we know very little about this virus. We have no vaccine. We don’t even have any proven treatments for the multiple problems it causes once you’re infected. Some people who lived through coronavirus came out of it with lung or heart damage; will these be lifelong physical problems? Could the damage potentially shorten your life down the line? Doctors are learning on the fly and doing their best but not even knowing if they’re hurting or helping patients.

We don’t even know who’s spreading the disease. How infectious are you if you’re asymptomatic? How long after you’re exposed are you contagious? Does being exposed make you immune?

And that’s why we’re not traveling. It’s why countries have shut down their borders. If they make a plan to open before any cure, vaccine, or even a treatment plan is developed, allowing people who are immune because of past exposure seems to be a safe bet. As Matthew says, we don’t even know if this matters but it’s the best we have right now. So why not be a first adopter?

COVID-19 is a killer. It’s going to be just as deadly now as it will be in 6 months, a year or a decade. At first we were staying home to #flattenthecurve so hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed. But we’re also staying home because the longer you wait until you get infected, the more likely doctors will have refined treatments or maybe even invented new devices to support patients while they fight off the virus. Medications will be tested. Most will not help, but some will. Eventually, we’ll get what everyone’s waiting for, a vaccine.

That’s when people will feel safe traveling again. Countries will open their borders again. Things will get back to some sense of a new normal. Enough people will be protected that we’ll get to herd immunity, but statistics say about 70% of the population has to be immune before that helps.

The average time people are talking about developing a vaccine is 18 months. Maybe with all the world’s scientists working on it, we can do this in record time, 12 months or less.

When you think about it in those terms, is it worth your life to be able to travel a few months sooner than everyone else?

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


SHAUN BURKE April 27, 2020 - 3:42 pm

I 100% agree with you. Maybe if it was 1 in 1,000,000. But 2% is not insignificant risk. It would be like before boarding a 737 flight the gate agent said that 3 of the 150 people on the plane would get a disease and die. Ummm, who would think that’s a good idea? Travel is not worth that risk no matter how much your income relies on travel.

Sometimes I think that blog writes posts to get a reaction.

Fightindividualism April 27, 2020 - 3:52 pm

Even if we get a vaccine 5 years from now….it’s still fine! Sick of hearing old American BS…re; being free, or liberty, or founding fathers’ quotes. sickening. AMerican – please get it: you are not exceptional, you are not special, you are regular laymen!! SOmetimes I wish we had dictatorship………

Tim April 27, 2020 - 5:29 pm

Thank you for speaking up about this. Matthews blog has been going downhill lately, and I’m glad someone around here still has some sense 🙂

Doug T April 27, 2020 - 5:33 pm

Doctors, scientists, researchers, the entire global medical community do not know – NOT – know fully how this disease – disease, not just virus – works. There is zero understanding of the long-term effects on infected people. It’s called ‘novel’ for a reason – as in ‘new’, as in 6 to 7 months. Ergo the foolish idea to inject oneself when no one has any idea of the consequences long term on a person who contracts COVID-19.

As for vaccines (yeah, unless you worship (as the bot proclaims ‘We will obey.’) ‘Dr.’ Billionaire Big Brother ‘1984’ Bill ‘Vaccine’ Gates of Hades), please consider these facts – facts: SARS1 appeared in 2003. MERS in 2012. 17 and 8 years since respectively. There is no vaccine for either. And Bill and his cohorts are saying that 12 to 18 months for SARS2. I wouldn’t bet on it. Bill is a sinister and nefarious devil.

But, the bottomline is with everyone is this: To each their own. You decide what you want to do with your life. I have no control over that but mine own.

Doan April 29, 2020 - 2:39 am

For a healthy young person the chance to die is not 2% (In germany 159k cases – 20 deaths below 40).
We take the risk of catching dengue or malaria or else so many times by traveling (Am happy that at least there is a yellow fever vaccination).
We get in traffic on the most dangerous roads. Climb narrow mountain paths, eat suspiciuos food and be near wildlife during travelling. Then there are the planes you have to take to get to places.- the small ones, the old ones.
Im not saying i would or even that it is ok to give yourself a infectious desease – you might infect someone who is not under 40, even when in or after quarataine.
But there might never be a vaccine, like with the common cold – so if we want to ever travel again i think we will have to at least accept the risk of catching this virus (or something else). Maybe there even wont be any longtime resistancy? if there is and there is no vaccine it might even be smart to get infected as young as possible – because like with the common cold, everyone catches one somewhere in their lifetime.

Ian May 24, 2020 - 5:30 pm

As a healthy 30-year-old, I understand Matthew’s sentiment. Knowing that most people are going to contract this virus anyway, and now knowing That the real fatality rate is somewhere less than 0.5%, I would have no fear exposing myself to COVID-19. My chance of dying has to be somewhere around 1 in 50,000, running the numbers. Dying in a car wreck, as a comparison, is annual odds of 1 in 10,000.

Katrina June 23, 2020 - 8:57 pm

You make many assumptions which you don’t even realize. 1% chance of death by corona for a healthy 20-30 year old is one of them. That corona isn’t getting weaker as time goes on is another mistake. That the numbers dying by corona matter compared with other statistics like: rise in child abuse, domestic abuse, kids being out of school in impoverished neighborhoods will not have lasting affects, that 150,000 die daily of any and all causes should put the corona virus numbers in better perspective.

joeheg June 24, 2020 - 11:20 am

When I wrote the original post in April, many of the assumptions were possibilities at the time. We’re learning more about the death rate, better treatments, mitigation strategies that work and ones that don’t all the time. While the stress the virus put on our society is high, the same stresses would be there if we left things wide open and had overrun hospitals and people dying by the thousands every day. I still stand by my statement that, at the time, the concept was silly and with the resulting travel bans put into place, it wouldn’t have helped much anyway.


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