CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – Some NC health officials are worried as they say they’re hearing from people who are attending “COVID-19 parties,” trying to catch coronavirus on purpose.
This news comes from Novant Health’s locations up in the Piedmont Triad. They say people have come in with the virus, saying they intentionally got it and the reason they give is, so far, unproven.
“That is completely irresponsible and completely unacceptable,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.
It’s not often you get a reaction like that from Gov. Cooper, but health officials say in this case, what some might say is unfathomable has happened.
“They’re just going to gatherings to get purposely infected with the virus. Whether it’s a birthday party, any kind of social situation that will expose them to the virus on purpose,” Novant Health nurse practitioner Yoland Enrich said.
Enrich says she has heard it herself from patients.
“There is this belief that if they get the virus, they become permanently immune to it,” Enrich said.
So far, that claim is unfounded, but health officials warn that this could be part of something bigger.
“So, what we’re hearing is young folks saying, ‘I think I’m fine, I’m going to go out and get COVID-19’, and they’re out in the communities, spreading the virus further. And those who are older, who still need to go to the grocery store, go to their health care setting, go to the pharmacy, that means the virus is in the community and can affect those people,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen with NCDHHS.
FOX 46 checked and so far, health officials here in the Charlotte area have not reported anything similar. Reports of these cases come as we could learn this week about whether North Carolina will move into Phase 2 of its reopening, allowing close-contact businesses and dine-in areas at restaurants to open back up.
That said, Governor Cooper says no one should willingly be seeking out getting sick.
“You can easily kill someone you love,” Cooper said.
Health experts say, even though reports like this are rare, this isn’t to say that they aren’t happening more. It’s important to note that we just know about the reported cases and health officials say they do not want this to become a trend.