OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Executive of the Tulsa County Health Department said he’s heard of Oklahomans allegedly hosting “Omicron parties” to purposely be infected with the COVID-19 variant.
Oklahoma health leaders tell KFOR that is a bad idea.
“I’m getting people sending me messages through Facebook and other places that people are having Omicron parties to get exposed. Don’t do that. Absolutely don’t do that,” said Dr. Bruce Dart, Executive Director of the Tulsa County Health Department.
While many may think the Omicron COVID-19 variant is mild, Dr. Dart said the world “mild” is relative.
“Nobody wants to find out for themselves if they would have a particular mild case or not,” said Dr. Dart. “We know that this makes many people very, very ill.”
“We are still overwhelming our health care system, because of Omicron hospitalizations and current ventilation support and deaths,” said Dr. Mary Clarke, president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association.
Dr. Clarke said this idea of purposely getting infected comes from a decades-old practice with Chicken Pox. However, there’s a big difference. Dr. Clarke said COVID-19 is far more deadly.
“The virulence of COVID-19 is much higher than chicken pox ever thought about,” said Dr. Clarke.
Not only that, Dr, Clarke wants Oklahomans to think about the chain of events when too many people get COVID. Schools go virtual or shut down, businesses close, and flights are canceled.
“It’s not just the illness for the person and the children and family,” she said. “It’s the total economic societal cost for that one infection and magnified, multiplied 100-million-times.”
So far, the doctor said she doesn’t have any first-hand knowledge of an “Omicron Party.” The idea started floating around at the beginning of the pandemic.
“I’m wondering, you know, if this is starting to get a little bit of an urban legend, again?” she said.
Either way, she said we already have the best way to fight COVID, and it’s far more effective than natural immunity.
“It’s called a vaccine,” she said. “Natural immunity wears off quickly. It starts to drop within three months, 90 days.”
Studies have shown protective immunity from vaccines lasts around six months.