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In a grim reminder of “chickenpox parties,” mainstream media from coast to coast are reporting on COVID-19 parties in which dozens of individuals gather to have a good time—and to spread the virus among themselves in a misguided effort to encourage immunity. Not surprisingly, public health officials in those areas are reporting anecdotally that patients who get diagnosed with COVID-19 mention they’ve attended such an event recently. One physician in Walla Walla County, WA told a local television station that when he asked a patient with COVID-19 about recent possible contacts, the patient reeled off about 25 names, all of whom were at COVID-19 party with the patient. Similar stories have popped up in Kentucky and Chicago, among other locales. This movement would be risky enough if there was evidence that having the virus confers immunity, but so far that has not been proven—negating the intended (if foolish) purpose of the parties. Some of the parties have occurred in follow-up to Facebook and other social media exchanges among friends. Consider fighting fire with fire by getting the word out online that these parties are high-risk endeavors that could literally result in death. (And be sure to include a link to your website and mention the services you’re ready and able to provide, while you’re at it.)

Be Aware: Ill-Informed Patients Are Having COVID-19 ‘Parties’ to Build Herd Immunity