Officials in the US state of Washington are expressing concern over reports of people organising “COVID-19 parties” to intentionally spread the virus.
“Gathering in groups in the midst of this pandemic can be incredibly dangerous and puts people at increased risk for hospitalisation and even death,” warns John Wiesman, the state’s secretary of health.
“Furthermore, it is unknown if people who recover from COVID-19 have long-term protection,” he says. “There is still a lot we don’t know about this virus, including any long-term health issues which may occur after infection.”
Wiesman’s comments came after officials in the state’s Walla Walla County reported that some of the 94 cases in the region appear to have been intentionally spread or contracted at so-called “COVID-19 parties”. The aim of these gatherings is for non-infected people to mingle with an infected person in an effort to catch the virus.