Experts have urged people not to hold ‘Covid-19 parties’ as a way of getting infected with the virus. (Credit: Shutterstock)
Experts have urged people not to hold ‘Covid-19 parties’ after reports of such gatherings taking place.
The group say that reports of this type of gathering - similar to a ‘chicken pox party’ - has grown in popularity as Omicron sweeps the globe.
What is a Covid-19 party?
Images and video have surfaced on social media in the past few weeks of people holding ‘Covid-19 parties’ in an attempt to get infected at a convenient time.
People would gather with the intention of getting infected with the virus ahead of large events, with some seen attempting to get infected before weddings or similar occasions.
Those taking part in such gatherings would be trying to get infected with the assumption that they would be granted temporary immunity for a period of time after recovering from the infection.
What have WHO said about Covid-19 parties?
Experts at WHO have lambasted those taking part and hosting such events.
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, addressed the situation while speaking in a social media briefing.
She said: “I’ve heard some very scary stories about, you know, parties of people and trying to get infected. Please, that is very unsafe.
“We are working very hard with all of our partners around the world to give you advice to avoid exposure, to reduce your chance of getting infected, to reduce your chance of passing the virus onward.
“This is critical right now. It is not the time to retreat. It is not the time to give up, because we have these tools.
“We are not talking about shutting down societies. What we’re talking about is increasing coverage of vaccine, making sure people have access, as well as simple measures to keep yourself safe, distancing, working from home if you can, access to testing, wearing a well-fitted mask over your nose and mouth, avoiding crowds, improving ventilation.”
Dr Van Kerkhove warned that those looking to be purposefully infected may also unsuspectingly pass the virus onto someone more vulnerable, adding: “We are just learning about post-Covid condition – long Covid.
“We don’t know the implications of Omicron, which replicates in the upper respiratory tract as opposed to the lower respiratory tract and if that has any implication on your chances of developing longer term effects.
“So that’s reason enough not to get infected.”
She also added that the assumption that Omicron is a mild disease was not the case, saying: “Please treat this virus as seriously as it needs to be treated.
“Not to scare anybody, but the narrative that it’s a common cold is not true, a narrative that it is ‘just mild’ is not true.
“So we have to really fight against it. It’s not the time to give up. We have tools at hand that can keep people safe.”
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