While communities around the world are in quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19, some people believe that by going out and attending social events, they can be infected with the coronavirus and thereby gain immunity. They're doing so by conducting "COVID-19 Parties."
According to a New York Times report, at least two of these social events were identified by the authorities in southeast Washington State.
The two parties in Washington State are believed to be the first dedicated events that were confirmed by public health officials. According to the news source, the participants in the party were said to deliberately mingling with an infected person hoping to get infected.
COVID-19 Parties: Health officials found some people trying to be infected by coronavirus to have immunity
According to The New York Times, Meghan Debolt, director of community health for Walla Walla County, said that two parties in the area were found by the county investigators on Wednesday, May 6.
Two people who attended the parties who were among the 20 individuals, become sick and tested positive for the coronavirus.
Local officials who had already been working to contain the outbreak at a local meat processing facility were surprised at the discovery. "We want to be able to start to reopen our community," said DeBolt in an interview. "But if our community isn't practicing proper physical distancing and social distancing guidelines, and they are intentionally trying to go and contract Covid-19, that sets us back pretty far from being able to open."
The belief of the people who are conducting the parties is that they can be immune to the virus by first being infected with it. It was previously reported by the county's health officials that chickenpox parties were held at which parents have previously intended to expose their children who were unvaccinated in the hope of infecting their kids with the virus.
Debolt said that the two individuals who became ill after attending one of the COVID-19 parties in the Walla Walla area did not need to be hospitalized since they were young and didn't need urgent medical care.
The health investigators confirmed that the two infected young individuals will quickly recover from COVID-19. However, Debolt said that the two people didn't consider they could spread it to those who are more vulnerable with serious health complications which could lead to their death.
"They feel really bad now, knowing that they put families and friends and others at risk," she said.
Earlier, local health officials identified a major outbreak in a Tyson Foods processing facility in the county. Three deaths were linked to the outbreak.