‘Your chances of developing serious illness are real’ – WHO warns against ‘Covid parties’

People should not try to get infected at so-called COVID parties, global health leaders have warned.

t comes after images and videos appeared on social media, purportedly trying to catch Covid at a time convenient for people.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) technical lead for COVID-19, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, warned about the long-term threat of COVID and the potential for the virus to be passed on to vulnerable people.

She told a social media briefing: “I don’t know if you’ve seen that on social media, or if you’ve heard people say, ‘Well, why bother? Omicron is everywhere and I could be infected right now too’ .

“This is a very dangerous question and one that deserves an answer.

“We don’t want to transmit this virus, cause number one, your chances of developing serious illness are real. If you have underlying conditions, are older, if you haven’t received vaccinations, you can die.” Huh.

“And that’s what we want to stop and we can stop it.

“But you can also pass the virus on to someone else who is more vulnerable.

“And we are just learning about the post-Covid situation – long Covid.

“We don’t know the effects of Omicron, which replicates in the upper respiratory tract as opposed to the lower respiratory tract and if it has any effect on your chances of developing a long-term effect.

“So that’s why don’t get infected.

“But there are too many unknowns.”

Dr. Van Kerkhove said: “I’ve heard some really scary stories about people at parties and trying to get infected. Please, this is very unsafe.

“We are working very hard with all our partners around the world to advise you on how to avoid risk, reduce your chances of getting infected, reduce the chances of the virus spreading further.

“It’s important right now. This is not the time to back down. This is not the time to give up, because we have these tools.

“We are not talking of closing societies. What we’re talking about is expanding the coverage of vaccines, making sure people have access, as well as simple steps to keep yourself safe, distance, work from home if you can. Doing, access to testing, wearing a well-fitted mask over your nose and mouth, avoiding congestion, improving ventilation.

“So please do what you can to avoid infection.”

Dr van Kerkhove said the Omicron variant “is not a mild disease”.

“Please treat this virus as seriously as it needs to be treated,” she said.

“Not to scare anyone, but the statement that it is a common cold is not true, the statement that it is ‘just mild’ is not true.

“So we really have to fight against it. This is not the time to give up. We have tools that can keep people safe.”

Meanwhile, Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies programme, urged people to get their boosters when they are offered, saying that acceptance of the vaccination is not an “ethical gray area”.

It comes as the WHO said that globally more than three billion people have yet to receive a single vaccine.

He said: “Please remember that this is not an individual ethical issue. If you are offered a vaccine, take the vaccine. If you are offered another vaccine, take the vaccine. If you are offered a booster, Then get a booster.

“No one on this planet should feel like they are in the moral gray zone.

“If you are offered a vaccine, take it.”

Dr Ryan said countries could do more to ensure vaccine equity, adding: “If we cannot address the simple issue of the equity of every person on the planet having access to a protective course of vaccines against a pandemic Are – if we can’t do this – how in the name of God are we likely to tackle the larger issues of climate justice and social justice that we face in the world?”

Visit our COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard for updates on the roll out of the immunization program and the rate of coronavirus cases in Ireland