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A doctor shares five lessons from contracting COVID: 'Masks work; herd immunity is good'

COVID numbers have begun surging once again. Therefore, Faheem Younus, MD, shared his insights on how to manage the illness.

A doctor shares five lessons from contracting COVID: 'Masks work; herd immunity is good'
Image Source: FaheemYounus / Twitter

As the third wave of the pandemic rages on in the United States and across the world, one doctor took to Twitter to share what his experiences of contracting COVID himself were like. Faheem Younus, MD, is the Vice President, Chief Quality Officer, and Chief of Infectious Diseases at the University of Maryland's Upper Chesapeake Health. Since it was first posted last week, the expert's Twitter thread has gone viral, with dozens of social media users writing to express their gratitude for his insights. Ultimately, Dr. Younus affirmed the need to comply with scientific methods of beating the pandemic while understanding your own tolerance levels for risk.


He announced on Twitter before sharing his lessons, "Omicron got me. Two weeks ago I developed symptoms and tested positive. [I am] sharing five lessons I learned from that experience and [I hope] you’ll find them helpful." Dr. Younus's first lesson should be obvious to most of us so far into the pandemic: masks actually work. "I’ve been around COVID patients over 1,000 times in two years and didn’t get infected due to masks/PPE," he wrote. "But [I] was exposed for two days at a maskless family gathering and COVID got me. So yes. Masks work. Wear an N95 or KN95 if you can."


His second lesson was about vaccines. Indeed, vaccinations work too. Dr. Younus stated, "You know the vaccine [and the] booster did its job when the patient is back to work after five days (with a mask) and telling his story on Twitter instead of fighting for his life on a ventilator. I thank vaccines. I thank God." While the ethicality of offering booster doses has been debated in the Global North, frontline health experts have urged everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible in order to achieve herd immunity. Although the vaccine may not prevent you from contracting COVID, it will reduce your chances of experiencing a severe case of the illness.


As Dr. Younus had a milder version of COVID, he was able to get well by just treating the symptoms of the disease. So, his third lesson was to practice what you preach. In his case, not resorting to last-ditch efforts. "I didn’t need monoclonal antibodies, steroids, antibiotics or paxlovid, etc.," he shared. "Symptomatic therapy (that I’ve shared many times before) was enough. [I] definitely didn’t use ivermectin, HCQ, [or] zinc. Protocols for severe disease are different."


The doctor's fourth lesson was more mental than it was actionable: "COVID or no COVID, think of your own mortality, often. It puts everything in perspective and allows us to make brave, meaningful decisions Herd immunity is good; herd mentality is bad." That is definitely something important for us all to remember. Finally, Dr. Younus's fifth lesson was about how much risk we're willing to take. "Know your risk tolerance," he concluded. "Get boosted, wear a KN/N95 mask. If COVID still gets you, you’ll likely fully recover. That family gathering was important for me. But your risk tolerance could be different. Comply with science, then follow your heart."

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