An undisclosed number of people from the town of Edson in Alberta in Canada have ended up in the ICU after attending a “Covid party,” according to news reports.
Originally reported by City News Edmonton, partygoers at the event held around two weeks ago had supposedly attended the gathering with the specific intention of contracting Covid-19 to achieve “natural immunity” against the SARS-CoV2 virus, with “several” of them ending up in hospital including some in ICU in Edmonton.
“I am demoralized and infuriated that people would intentionally add fuel to the inferno, risking onward transmission to others, and potentially landing in the ICU at a time when we have literally a handful of beds left for the entire province,” said Dr. Ilan Schwartz, MD, PhD, an infectious diseases physician and assistant professor at the University of Alberta.
For what should be obvious reasons, it is not recommended to achieve ‘immunity’ to the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus via natural infection. These reasons include the risk of being hospitalized with Covid-19, dying from Covid-19, experiencing the menagerie of chronic symptoms associated with “long Covid” and also transmitting the virus to others. None of these are a risk with immunity acquired via immunization with Covid-19 vaccines, which are widely available all over Canada and are free.
“There is no evidence that natural immunity is better than vaccine generated immunity, and some evidence that vaccine generated immunity is more robust and longer lasting. Getting the vaccine is much much safer than getting the virus,” said Dr. Schwartz.
A recent study found that over a third of people who recovered from Covid-19 did not have any detectable levels of antibodies in their blood with immunity gained after vaccination widely believed to be superior to than following infection with the virus.
The idea for the “Covid party” may have come from “chickenpox parties,” where parents would intentionally expose their children to other children with chickenpox to get them to build immunity to the virus that causes chickenpox at a young age. However, a vaccine is now available for chickenpox and the CDC strongly recommends against hosting or participating in these events, stressing that although rare, chickenpox can be severe in even healthy children.
“Chickenpox parties were popular at a time when understanding of the risks of varicella (chickenpox) infections were under appreciated, and when a vaccine was not available. They were a terrible idea, COVID parties are also a terrible idea.” said Dr. Schwartz.
Although clearly unwise at any time, the timing of the misguided gathering could not be any worse for Alberta, which is experiencing a significant surge in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths after relaxing many pandemic control measures during the summer months. With the highest rate of new Covid-19 cases in Canada, a state of public health emergency has been declared, with healthcare authorities creating extra spaces for ICU beds and freeing up extra staff by cancelling all other elective surgeries to cope, but this ‘surge capacity’ is quickly being depleted.
“People’s cancer surgeries are being canceled because we cannot cope with the volume of patients needing ICU care, and they [the Covid party participants] are intentionally putting themselves and others in a position to use up those precious resources. Its unforgivable,” said Dr. Schwartz.
The province has recently brought in some further public health restrictions such as a ban on private gatherings for unvaccinated people with other households, vaccine passes to access non-essential businesses and the closure of the inside of bars and restaurants, irrespective of patron vaccination status. A few days ago, the provincial government asked for help from other Canadian provinces for specialist healthcare staff and help with medical evacuations of patients to other hospitals around the country.
Article From: Forbes
Author: Victoria Forster