For years, a number of parents thought it was better to take their kids to a “pox party” rather than get them vaccinated. These parents thought that directly exposing their kids to childhood diseases like chicken pox and measles was far better than vaccines. Never mind that the virus for chicken pox can lay dormant in the body for years before returning as shingles–a disease that is not only incredibly painful, but can potentially kill.
Well, it turns out that the pox party seems to be making a comeback. This time, it looks like a lot of people in North Carolina are throwing similar shindigs in hopes of deliberately catching coronavirus.
North Carolina is one of the few Southern states that doesn’t seem to be rushing pell-mell into reopening. On April 23, Governor Roy Cooper announced plans for a three-phase process to ease the state out of a stay-at-home order imposed on March 27.
Under “Phase 1,” which began on May 8, retail stores previously deemed nonessential were allowed to reopen, though they were required to implement procedures for social distancing. Parks and trails were allowed to reopen if they were closed. If the current positive trend continues, the stay-at-home order will be rescinded altogether on Friday, in time for Memorial Day weekend.
This was possible because North Carolina hasn’t seen a massive spike in cases. Indeed, for much of the spring, it has had among the fewest cases, if not THE fewest, of any state with ten or more seats in the House. Indeed, Cooper and state health secretary Mandy Cohen believed the state had made enough progress that they would be content with “sustained leveling” in positive tests and hospitalizations.
But that progress was significantly threatened with reports that people around the state were throwing “COVID parties” in hopes of catching the disease and achieving herd immunity. Cooper was not happy about it. Watch coverage from The (Raleigh) News & Observer here.
At the daily statewide coronavirus briefing, a reporter asked Cooper if he’d heard about the “COVID party” trend. A visibly angry Cooper called it “completely irresponsible and completely unacceptable” for anyone to be even thinking of holding such a “party.” Cohen pointed out that people who throw these “parties” are endangering their entire communities, particularly those who are “at high risk for getting severe reactions” to the virus.
WSOC-TV in Charlotte revealed that a number of hospitals in the state are seeing patients who have been to one of these gatherings. Watch here.
According to Jerome Williams of Novant Health, one of the larger hospital networks in North Carolina, several patients in and around Winston-Salem have told doctors they actually wanted to catch coronavirus in hopes of developing antibodies. Williams pointed out that a number of studies have shown that not everyone can develop antibodies for this disease yet. Even without that to consider, no one knows how much immunity you can acquire, or how long it will last.
Based on what we know about this virus, you really have to wonder how anyone even thought this twist on the “pox party” was a good idea. After all, it’s been amply established that this is not just the damn flu.
There have been numerous reports of how this virus can do horrific things to the lungs. However, coronavirus has been linked to other severe complications such as strokes, problems with blood clotting, and kidney damage. Additionally, this virus has been known to linger in people’s systems for as long as two months. In one particularly frightening case, a woman in San Jose died when her immune system fought so hard against this virus that her heart literally burst.
Under the circumstances, anyone who is inviting people to a “COVID party” is effectively sprinkling anthrax spores, ricin, or arsenic across their neighborhood or city. Simply put, authorities in North Carolina and elsewhere need to find a way to lock these people up. You can’t leave them out there.
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