Coronavirus Parties Are a Bad Idea

Charlotte A. Moser

Disclosures

June 18, 2020

Editorial Collaboration

Medscape &

Deliberate COVID-19 Exposure: The "Benefits"?

Advocates of deliberate exposure offer two rationales: the inevitability of infection and the need to return to normalcy. Both of these notions overlook important considerations.

Inevitability of infection. The "infection is inevitable" argument relies on a logical fallacy known as hasty generalization, which does not take into account all of the evidence at hand.

  • Most experts agree that the majority of the population has yet to be infected. As of early June, only 13 states are meeting the daily testing target of 500,000 tests, and in those states, only about 4% of the test results are positive.

  • The number of people who get infected before a vaccine becomes available will depend not only on how long it takes but also how the virus spreads in the interim. Public health mitigation strategies and the behavior of the virus in the coming months will both affect infection rates.

Arguing that people should intentionally expose themselves because infection is inevitable does not take into account all of the evidence.

Return to normalcy. We all agree that it has been a difficult time, so wanting to return to pre-COVID-19 life is understandable. However, the notion of quickly infecting as many people as possible in order to return to normal is flawed.

Unfortunately, from the beginning, conversations around the shutdown have led many to conclude that we need to choose between public health and the economy. This idea hinges on a logical fallacy, called false dichotomy, which assumes only two positions for a situation.

Although the shutdown worked to flatten the curve, it caused significant damage to the economy. But attempting to quickly generate herd immunity through intentional exposure will unnecessarily sacrifice lives. Instead, in the way that we collectively flattened the curve, we also need to work together to repair our economy without sacrificing lives. Practicing social distancing and quarantining when ill can decrease spread of the virus and allow our communities to open, ensuring that:

  • Our healthcare resources are not overwhelmed

  • Scientists and clinicians have time to make progress on treatments and vaccines

  • Our family and friends do not pay the price

Repairing our economy and saving lives is not a mutually exclusive choice.

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