MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With the spread of the Omicron variant and more people getting sick, doctors said there is a likelihood you will get COVID too.

“It’s a very contagious situation that a lot of people are likely to get this,” Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Steve Threlkeld said, “which is why it’s been so important for people to have the vaccine and be protected from it.”

However, that news has some people doing the unthinkable: trying to catch COVID before they even catch it. Across the country, there are reports of American trying to catch the virus on purpose so they can speed up the process of potentially testing positive.

“It would be very, very poor judgement to just sort of put yourself in the path of that train,” Dr. Threlkeld said. “Then, you don’t even know where it is and how fast it’s going, and so I think it’s very, very frustrating to watch people do that.”

And getting COVID does not mean you can not test positive for it again.

“Let me tell you about the long term consequences of COVID,” Dr. Threlkeld said. “People die, people have bad lungs and coughing, shortness of breath for the rest of their lives. Not to mention these things that we don’t even understand yet.”

Terrell Williams of Memphis said he battled COVID twice.

“The pain was excruciating, and so it’s something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” Williams said. “It makes you feel like you couldn’t even get out of bed.”

Williams said he even infected his mom with the virus who ended up with pneumonia.

“I mean if you felt that all your toes and legs, I didn’t know whether it was my bones or my muscles hurting and actually tell the difference,” he said. “But it was really, really bad.”

Doctors say you can not just assume your case will be a mild one and you will then be immune.

“We have no control over what variant comes down the pike,” Dr. Threlkeld said. “Not to mention, you know that our immunity can have drains over time, anyway, even if there isn’t another variant.”

Doctors say another thing people should consider is even if you get a mild case of COVID, you could spread it to others who may have more severe cases.

“With a contagious virus like this, you can never be sure,” Dr. Threlkeld said. “But getting it has its own set of unknowns that nobody should want to face.”